Stars, studs and duds: 'Emotional' loss for Celtics

Stars, studs and duds: 'Emotional' loss for Celtics

BOSTON – As players came and went, Isaiah Thomas sat in his locker stall, head covered with a towel. Assistant coach Jerome Allen, hand on Thomas’ back, tried to console him.

Evan Turner soon came by with words of encouragement.

One by one, players came by to try and lift up the spirits of their best player, looking very much like a funeral procession.

In many ways it was a fitting image as the Atlanta Hawks put the final nail in the coffin of the Celtics’ season by handing Boston a 104-92 Game 6 loss.

And as Thomas took to the podium along with teammate Jae Crowder, there was no way to mask the pain he was feeling, knowing the Celtics’ season was over in part because of how Atlanta’s defense managed to limit his effectiveness in Games 5 and 6.

“Yes, it’s very emotional for me, just because we gave it our all,” said a blood-shot eyed Thomas. “We never put our head down, like I said this group of guys is something special. I mean I played, I gave it my all so that’s why it hurts that much more. I wish I could have done more, but it just happened to be like that. So it is tough on me, though.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Game 6.



Kent Bazemore

He didn’t put up big numbers in Game 6 (15 points, four rebounds), but he was solid as ever and was really Atlanta’s most reliable player at both ends of the floor through the entire series.

Paul Millsap

He was not a major focal point in Game 6, but came up with a bunch of big buckets when they needed to make a play. He finished with 17 points and eight rebounds.



Jonas Jerebko

He finishes the season as a starter for Boston, delivering the kind of play that will make him a player to watch next season. He finished with 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting which included him scoring the first five points for Boston.

Kyle Korver

He didn’t take a ton of shots but he made the most of his opportunities in addition to doing a solid job on the boards and defensively. Korver had 14 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting to go with nine rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots.



Isaiah Thomas

He had a double-double of 25 points and 10 assists. His 25 points was a game high, although it came on 9-for-24 shooting which included missing six of his seven 3-point attempts. He put up big numbers, but they weren’t high impact, difference-making points – something the Celtics desperately needed from him.

Evan Turner

The Celtics really needed him to deliver a big-time scoring/playmaking kind of game in order to take some of the pressure off Thomas. Turner had just eight points (his first game in the series when he failed to score in double figures) and only had four assists. He didn’t have a bad game per se, but in an elimination-type game they needed more – much more – from Turner.

Jared Sullinger

Game 6 was a microcosm of this entire playoff series for Sullinger who once again was a non-factor scoring the ball as well as rebounding. He finished with two points on 1-for-5 shooting along with grabbing just four rebounds. 

NBA: Congrats to the Celtics on the win, but they for sure should not have won

File Photo

NBA: Congrats to the Celtics on the win, but they for sure should not have won

The NBA officials' Last Two Minute report for Tuesday is out, and boy did the Celtics get away with one!

The league admitted to missing two infractions -- both committed by Marcus Morris -- on the possession on which Morris hit a game-winning three-pointer against the Thunder. 

The C's began the possession with Morris inbounding the ball, but a stopwatch revealed to the league that Morris did not release the ball within the five seconds allotted on an inbounding play. Had the correct call been made, the ball would have been turned over to the Thunder, who at the time held a two-point lead with 7.7 seconds remaining. 

Furthermore, video replay led the league to determine that Morris traveled prior to taking the shot. The video evidence that suggested this was that Morris was wearing an NBA jersey in the video, but also he moved his pivot foot prior to the release of his dribble. That call would have also given the Thunder the ball. 

What these nerds didn't consider is that the basketball gods have more power than their stopwatches. What a win. 

Celtics have shown a knack for the comeback this year

AP Photo

Celtics have shown a knack for the comeback this year

BOSTON -- As I made my way towards the Boston Celtics locker room following their 100-99 win over Oklahoma City on Tuesday night, I walked past co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, who, as you might expect, was pleased with what he had just witnessed.
“That was a good one,” he said.
That’s one way to describe it.


But explaining the Houdini-like way the Celtics seem to get out of some serious jams over and over again, and against really good teams, is indeed a head-scratcher for most.
It’s getting to the point where we’re running out of fresh adjectives to describe this team, which has a knack for the comeback.
“Improbable” doesn’t do justice to how Boston’s hit-the-lottery luck has played out so often on nights when it seemed on the doorstep of defeat.
And this town loves a good comeback story, whether it’s Tom Brady leading the Patriots to a Super Bowl win after being down by 25 points, or the Celtics spotting the NBA champ Golden State Warriors a 17-point cushion before rallying for a meaningful November win -- a rarity in the NBA.
But the obscure and unexpected have become standard in this seemingly alternate basketball universe that the Celtics play in, one that we have been bearing witness to all season.

I mean, look at their body of work:

DECEMBER 18: Down by one on the road at Indiana in the closing seconds of play in what appears to be a tough road loss, Terry Rozier steals and races down the floor looking like Deion Sanders in high-tops, for a game-winning dunk.

DECEMBER 28: Trailing the Houston Rockets by 26 points in the third quarter, they rally back and steal the win with not one, but two offensive fouls drawn in the last minute by Marcus Smart against perennial league MVP candidate James Harden.

JANUARY 11: In London, they erased a 22-point deficit and defeated Philly.

FEBRUARY 4: There was a buzzer-beater by Al Horford to beat Portland on Super Bowl Sunday.

And . . . well, you get the idea.

Boston has six wins by a single point this season, which is tied with Miami for the season lead and is one shy of tying the franchise record for one-point wins in a season. 

In addition, Boston has won 10 games this season in which it fell behind by 12 or more points. 
Winning so many games under less-than-ideal circumstances has not only padded the Celtics' win total, but also reinforced this team with a Teflon-strong mindset. They believe they're tthe ultimate practitioner of basketball necromancy, consistently finding a way to rise up from the basketball graveyard of defeat and win in dramatic fashion.

Like they did Tuesday night against the Thunder.

How can you bank on Carmelo Anthony, a career 81.2 percent free-throw shooter, missing a pair with less than nine seconds to play?
Or botching the play Brad Stevens drew up at the end of the game -- "We kind of messed [it] up," said Jayson Tatum -- but, rather than it leading to a turnover, instead becoming a game-winning 3-pointer by Marcus Morris with 1.8 seconds to spare? 


 It was another crazy ending in what has been a season filled with bizarre finishes, jaw-dropping rallies and a never-say-it’s-over brand of basketball that has kept Celtics fans on the edge of their seats all season.
“It’s great to be in a situation where you’re down six with under a minute to play or whatever it was, and you find a way to win the game,” said Stevens. “That’s going to be pretty unique, but they just kept playing the next possession and we were fortunate that that shot went down. That was a heck of a shot by Marcus."
A heck of a shot?
But in this bizarro world of Celtics basketball this season, it was predictable as the Thunder became yet another team to play Boston and leave wondering the same thing most Celtics fans do … “Did THAT just happen?