Stars, studs and duds: Crowder 'answered the call' in second half with Thomas out

Stars, studs and duds: Crowder 'answered the call' in second half with Thomas out

The absence of Isaiah Thomas was certainly apparent in the way the Boston Celtics played against the Brooklyn Nets, making the whole next-man-up mindset a lot tougher to execute.

But to fill the void left by Thomas and his 29-plus points per game, it would take a village of Celtics to lead them to victory – even against the Brooklyn Nets.

“We’ve done it before,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “We do it for 12 to 14 minutes every game, so … I didn’t think we played great tonight on that end of the floor but I thought we were really good on the defensive end early and when our defense let down our offense got a lot better.”

Jae Crowder led the scoring barrage for the Celtics, but it was the play of several Boston scorers that was just enough for the Celtics to escape with a 98-95 win over the Nets.

Avery Bradley and Al Horford carried Boston offensively in the first half while Crowder delivered in the second.

In between, Boston got solid bench contributions from Gerald Green and Kelly Olynyk who had 11 and nine points, respectively. Also, Tyler Zeller played seven major minutes in slowing down Brook Lopez who was a major problem for the Celtics in the third quarter.

But the key to this win was the way a number of Celtics players who stepped up their game offensively in the absence of Thomas.

“Isaiah does so much for us on the offensive end,” Boston’s Al Horford told reporters afterwards. “Tonight, we had to find ways. I felt like Jae Crowder answered the call, and different guys, Gerald Green, Avery Bradley, different guys stepped up at different times and we got it done by committee.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Friday night’s game.



Jae Crowder

Easily the biggest difference-maker for the Boston Celtics. Crowder did his part in filling the void left by Isaiah Thomas (knee) who was out, finishing with season highs in scoring (24 points) and rebounding (12 rebounds).

Al Horford

His encouragement on the sideline in between time-outs and leadership down the stretch were huge for the Celtics in a game that was a lot tougher to win than expected. He had 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.

Brook Lopez

He has been among the better scoring centers in the NBA the past couple of years, and he’s added a 3-point shot which makes him an even tougher cover for defenses. He led the Nets with 23 points along with five rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots.



Marcus Smart

This wasn’t his first time filling in as a starter, and it won’t be his last. He didn’t’ shoot the ball particularly well (3-for-12), but made some clutch free throws in the fourth quarter before finishing with 12 points along with five rebounds and three steals.

Jeremy Lin

The former Harvard standout had an efficient night for the Nets, scoring 10 points on 3-for-6 shooting with seven rebounds, six assists and a blocked shot.

Gerald Green

Arguably the biggest difference-maker besides Crowder, Green came up with 11 huge points for the Celtics on 4-for-8 shooting in addition to making a couple of nice plays defensively.



Jaylen Brown

It was one of those nights that you come to expect from time to time from the rookie. He never got into any kind of flow or rhythm, missing his both of his shot attempts while grabbing just two rebounds. Most telling stat about Brown? The Celtics were -13 when he was on the floor against the Nets, the worst plus/minus of any player for Boston.

Celtics should get word Friday on Irving's status

Celtics should get word Friday on Irving's status

BOSTON -- Kyrie Irving has had a second opinion on his sore left knee, and a decision on what the next step will be is expected to be made within the next day or two, according to a league source.

 The medical officials involved in the initial evaluation will meet with those who examined him today, to compare notes and determine what’s in the best interest of Irving going forward.

 While surgery is a possibility, the source indicated that the current course of treatment, which consists primarily of rest, remains a consideration. 
The concerns regarding Irving’s knee are to be of the short-term variety, with the source indicating reports that there are long-term concerns with the knee are “just wrong.” 

 In his first season with the Celtics, Irving has appeared in 60 games in what has been one of his most efficient seasons as a scorer. 
He’s averaging 24.4 points per game while shooting a career-high 49.1 percent from the field. The five-time all-star is shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range this season in addition to dishing out 5.1 assists along with grabbing a career-high 3.8 rebounds.


Celtics assistant McCarty to become coach at Evansville

AP Photo

Celtics assistant McCarty to become coach at Evansville

BOSTON – The first member of the Brad Stevens’ coaching tree is about to take off. Celtics assistant coach Walter McCarty is expected to be named head coach at Evansville University.

McCarty, an Evansville, Ind. native, was selected over a field of candidates that included former Indiana University standout Calbert Cheaney and David Ragland who, like McCarty, is an Evansville native.

The 6-foot-10 McCarty, a 10-year NBA veteran with seven-plus spent with the Celtics, has been part of Stevens’ coaching staff since 2013. The former Celtic has been a college assistant coach at Louisville (2007-2010) in addition to the NBA’s Indiana Pacers (2010-2011).