It’s hard to get too excited about a road win in the middle of December.
But there is no mistaking Boston’s 112-109 overtime win at Memphis was a victory that in the grand scheme of things, holds a little more weight than its predecessors this season.
And the key to the big win was the little fella, Isaiah Thomas, who lit up the usually-stingy Memphis defense for a career-high 44 points.
“I’m a killer; I’m a killer,” Thomas told CSN’s Kyle Draper. “My team needed me to score.”
Especially after a first half in which the Celtics scored a season-low 31 points.
“[Thomas] was just unstoppable,” Al Horford, who had his third double-double of the season with 17 points and 14 rebounds, told reporters after the game.
Jae Crowder added: “Isaiah is a hell of a scorer. We knew it was a big game for our guards to get into the paint, live in the paint all night. We tried to take advantage of it and it worked out in our favor.”
And the magnitude of the victory was not lost on Thomas, who had 36 points in the second half.
“It’s big but it’s not just about that,” Thomas said. “It’s about how we got the win. They were punking us in the first half and a little bit in the third. This might turn this season around, for real.”
Here’s a look at the Stars, Studs and Duds from Tuesday’s game.
Isaiah Thomas: It took a Herculean comeback on the Celtics’ part to knock off the best defensive team in the league after falling behind by as many as 17 points. And the 5-foot-9 Isaiah Thomas was up to the challenge. He finished with a career-high 44 points on just 10-for-16 shooting (he made 7 3’s) along with a flawless 17-for-17 from the line.
Marc Gasol: Much of what the Memphis Grizzlies want to do offensively flows through Gasol and more often than not, he doesn’t disappoint. He had 24 points for Memphis along with seven rebounds and six assists.
Al Horford: He has shot the ball better, but Horford was a difference-maker in so many other areas of the game. He had one blocked shot, but it led to a lay-up late in the game that was indeed a huge play. Horford tallied his third double-double this season with 17 points, 14 rebounds and three assists.
Avery Bradley: Bradley’s defense was instrumental in this victory, but he delivered some clutch baskets as well. He finished with 16 points on 5-for-8 shooting.
Troy Daniels: Injuries to several Memphis players have allowed Daniels to play a more prominent role in the rotation. And to Daniels’ credit, he has made the most of it. He had a team high-tying 24 points off the Memphis bench on 8-for-13 shooting with four made 3’s.
Mike Conley: This was the first game that Conley looked and played like Mike Conley since returning the Grizzlies lineup following a back injury that’s still somewhat problematic for him. Conley had 19 points, 16 of which came in the second half and overtime to go with eight assists, five rebounds and two steals.
Jonas Jerebko: He has had so many good games for the Celtics this season, he was bound to have a dud sooner or later. He was scoreless in 12 minutes of action, with the only stat of significance he registered being three personal fouls.