Stars, studs and duds: Thomas finds balance with offense

Stars, studs and duds: Thomas finds balance with offense

BOSTON – Isaiah Thomas made no secret about wanting to not just play well in Game 7, but deliver the kind of performance that not only led to victory but would also be remembered for quite some time.

The two-time All-Star found success on both fronts as Boston used a late third quarter surge to pull away for a 115-105 victory that eliminated the Washington Wizards and just as important, catapulted the Celtics into the Eastern Conference finals where they will face the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.


And while Kelly Olynyk certainly stole the show with a playoff career-high 26 points, it was Thomas who found that always-tough balance of being a big-time scorer while also getting his teammates great looks.

He finished with a double-double of 29 points and 12 assists with just two turnovers.

The 12 assists were a playoff career-high for Thomas as part of his third career playoff double-double and first during the playoffs this year.

“He was terrific,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, referring to Thomas. “And the 12-to-2 assist-to-turnover, you know, is as powerful as the 29 points. I thought he made a lot of great plays; a lot of those shots that others made in the fourth quarter were off of his passes, or started with them putting two guys on Isaiah and man, is he a tough guy.”

And while the seven-game series with Washington certainly was a grueling marathon mentally, Thomas acknowledged it took quite a toll on his body as well.

“I’m hurting,” he said. “But it’s the playoffs so there are no excuses. I get my treatment every day and I’m ready to play.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 115-105 Game 7 win over Washington.



Kelly Olynyk

Easily Monday’s Game 7 performance by Olynyk was his best ever as a Celtic, not only because of the 26 points on 10-for-14 shooting but also because of his performance’s impact – it moved Boston on to the Conference finals.

Bradley Beal

As the series went on, Beal’s play seemed to get better and better. He led all scorers with 38 points on 12-for-22 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

In Game 7, Thomas didn’t save his best for last – the fourth quarter. Instead, Thomas did most of his damage in the third which is when the Celtics began to take control of the game. He led Boston with 29 points, 12 of which came in the third quarter. Thomas also had a career playoff-high 12 assists.



Marcus Smart

There were big shots and lots of huge defensive plays made by Smart all game long. He finished with 13 points on 4-for-7 shooting along with grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists not to mention he found time to block two shots including one near the end of the first half that was a huge momentum-shifting play for the Celtics.

John Wall

The numbers look a lot better than Wall’s impact in Game 7, particularly down the stretch. He finished with a double-double of 18 points and 11 assists along with seven rebounds. But in the fourth quarter, he was scoreless despite playing all but nine seconds of the quarter.

Otto Porter Jr.

After registering a big fat goose egg scoring in Game 6, Porter bounced back nicely with 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and a blocked shot.

Al Horford

He has had better games in this series, but once again Horford came up with so many little plays that were big in terms of helping Boston emerge with the win. For the game, he had 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting with six rebounds and five assists.



Wizards bench

Like Stevens, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks also shortened up his bench. But they weren’t anywhere close to being as effective as Boston’s second unit, as they tallied just five points while collectively missing four of their five shots total. Meanwhile, each of the three primary reserves for Boston – Kelly Olynyk (26 points), Marcus Smart (13 points) and Jaylen Brown (9 points) – each had more points scored than the entire Washington bench.


Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

BOSTON – Jayson Tatum had another strong performance for the Boston Celtics, doing so against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Paul George, a player Tatum has acknowledged on more than one occasion he has looked up to. 

That admiration didn’t get in the way of Tatum delivering a big-time performance in helping Boston rally from six points down with 12.7 seconds to play, to knock off the Thunder 100-99.

Tatum tallied a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. And doing so at 20 years and 17 days old, Tatum became the youngest player in franchise history to tally at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in the same game.

“It feels good,” Tatum said when asked about his first 20-plus point, 10-plus rebound game in the NBA. “But honestly, I’m just glad we won. That was a big win against a great team and it was fun playing out there today.”

Impacting the game on multiple levels offensively along with being a defensive and rebounding force are qualities often associated with George who became familiar with Tatum prior to last June’s NBA draft which is when the Celtics selected him with the third overall pick. 

“I reached out to him before he was coming into this draft and I got to talk to him,” said George, who had 24 points and a game-high 13 rebounds against the Celtics. “It’s an honor when you see young talent. I‘ve been inspired by many in this league so it’s great to inspire the younger generation in this league.”

And while Tatum may be young, he continues to prove himself up for whatever challenges await him. 

“We are going to keep throwing to the wolves and keep going to him in those moments,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

Boston closed out the game with an 8-1 spurt in the final 24.7 seconds, with Tatum either scoring or assisting on five of those points which includes assistant on Marcus Morris’ game-winner.

Tatum’s composure down the stretch comes from being influenced by many, including George who considers it “an honor” that Tatum holds him in high regard. 

“At the end of the day, us veteran guys want the younger guys to take the game further and advance much farther than what I was,” George said. “There’s going to be kids looking up to Jayson (Tatum) that are probably already looking up to Jayson (Tatum).”


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

1:15 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek to discuss Kyrie Irving getting a second opinion on his injured knee and what the Kyrie’s options are for the remainder of the season.

5:53 - Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine break down the Celtics stunning last second comeback win over the Thunder with multiple key players sitting out.

10:27 - Tom Curran and Jerod Mayo stop by Early Edition to play a game of Fill in the Blank that involves Gronkowski’s contract and the Patriots best offseason acquisition.