I.T. on sitting in 2nd quarter: 'I trust Brad in whatever decision he makes'

I.T. on sitting in 2nd quarter: 'I trust Brad in whatever decision he makes'

BOSTON -- No one should expect Isaiah Thomas to play every minute of every game.
Judging by the way the Celtics play when he’s not in the game, an uptick in his minutes might be in order once the postseason arrives.


Because in looking back on Boston’s 114-91 beating at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers, no point in the game sticks out more than the first six-plus minutes of the second quarter when Thomas went to the bench after playing the entire first quarter.
When Thomas went to the sideline for his usual five- to six-minute rest, Boston had a 20-19 lead.
Thomas returned to the floor with 5:57 to play in the half and the Celtics facing a 17-point deficit.
“Even as you go through and just kind of look at it, yes, that moment in time certainly didn’t help us by any means because we were playing uphill,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “But they were just better throughout the 48 minutes tonight.”
Of course, LeBron James had a lot to do with the Cavs’ run. He finished with a game-high 36 points to go with 10 rebounds and six assists.
But the rest Thomas got on the bench wrestled away any kind of control the Celtics had at the end of the first quarter.
And that just opened the floodgates to worst home loss for the Celtics this season.
The fact that Boston has struggled to mightily when Thomas leaves the game is not lost on his teammates.
“We have to find other ways to score the ball,” said backcourt mate Avery Bradley. “Like we say, it’s not just offense; it’s defense. Our defense has to be better. We can make shots all we want, but if we’re not defending the basketball we’re still gonna lose the game.”
Watching his team sink into a deeper and deeper hole while he was on the bench is a scene that has played out far too many times for Thomas this season.
But he refuses to make a stink about getting on the floor sooner in those instances.
“I trust Brad in whatever decision he makes,” Thomas said. “I let him coach and I play to the best of my ability. But that did hurt us, that run they went on to start the second [quarter]. They didn’t look back after that.”

Offensive lulls when Thomas goes to the bench has been an issue at times this season, but lately it seems to have become an even bigger problem.
And that’s not good for the Celtics, especially with the playoffs right around the corner.
“The positive thing about that is we get to see it now,” said Boston’s Al Horford. “And we can address it, and we can find ways to be better. Because I’m sure other teams are looking at that, too.”
Thomas said he hasn’t really given much thought about the potential runs teams may go on when he’s on the bench.

“I trust my teammates; I have confidence in those guys to go out there and play well,” Thomas said. “They just have to do it and they will. Tonight was a tough one. I guess it’s been a trend lately. But we’ll figure it out.”

Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

File Photo

Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas back in green? Maybe there's a chance after all.

The former Celtics guard, now with the Lakers, started a Q&A session on Twitter and was asked whether he'd consider returning to Boston this offseason. This was his answer...

That's not a no.

Thomas has had a rough go of it since leaving the Celtics. His brief tenure in Cleveland didn't go according to plan, and things haven't gotten a whole lot better out in L.A. The 29-year-old is averaging 15.3 points per game just a year after averaging 28.9 with Boston.

Let the speculation begin.


Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Al Horford understands that there’s plenty of blame pie to go around following Boston’s 108-89 loss to New Orleans. 

Considering how Pelicans stud Anthony Davis dominated the game on so many levels Sunday night, Horford was quick to acknowledge his role in the loss. 

“[Davis] was able to get behind our defense a lot,” Horford told reporters after the loss. “Some mistakes on my end; gotta give him credit. He dominated tonight. I’ll definitely take the blame for that.”

Davis finished with a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds, a total that would have been higher if not for the game being so lopsided which allowed Davis to head to the bench early in the fourth. 

MORE - Blakely's stars, studs, and duds from C's-Pelicans

And Horford’s struggles defensively were just as problematic on offense as the five-time All-Star tallied just six points on 3-for-11 shooting to go with four rebounds and three assists. 

Boston has been a team whose collective sums have fueled their success. 

But Horford understands he has to be a high impact performer, a job that’s even more vital when key starters like Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) and Jaylen Brown (concussion) are out as well as top reserves Marcus Smart (right thumb) and Daniel Theis (torn meniscus). 

And by Horford’s own admission, he just didn’t bring it on Sunday at a level to give him and the Celtics a legit shot at winning the game.

“Defensively we had too many breakdowns,” Horford said. “And the game got away from us in the second half. So there’s no excuses. I didn’t give us a chance, either; missing a lot of looks offensively. I just need to be better.”

And he’ll have to be if Boston (47-23) is to get back on track with a win on Tuesday against a talented Oklahoma City squad led by Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. 

At full strength, the Thunder would be a significant challenge for the Celtics. 

But having a roster with a number of key players out with injuries, it becomes even more imperative for Boston’s top players to elevate their play. 

And as you scan this Celtics roster and examine those who are healthy enough to play, it’s clear that Horford more than any other Boston player, has to find a way to become more impactful.

Certainly, more points and rebounds would help. 

But as we’ve seen time and time again with Horford, often his greatest contributions to winning games don’t necessarily show up in the final box score. 

That being said, a six-point, four-rebound game doesn’t cut it. 

Horford has to be better, something he knows better than anyone. 

“I’ll definitely look at the film and see how I can be better individually,” Horford said. “The good thing about the NBA, is we have a chance to play on Tuesday. Hopefully we’ll learn from this game and be ready to go Tuesday at home.”