Thomas frustrated over lack of playing time in loss to Hornets

Thomas frustrated over lack of playing time in loss to Hornets

WALTHAM, Mass. – The last two games have not exactly been shining moments for Isaiah Thomas.

But when asked about them on Tuesday he was quick to interject before the question had been fully formed, “I played 20 minutes last game; that doesn’t count.”

It was clear in Thomas’ tone that he did not take too kindly to playing just 20 minutes in Boston’s 114-100 home loss to Charlotte, a game that knocked the Celtics out of contention for the No. 3 seed with Celtics’ postseason position being anywhere between No. 4-6.

There was no mistaking Thomas was disappointed in the team’s overall showing against the Hornets, and noticeably bothered by his lack of playing time in the second half.

When asked if the benching upset him, Thomas said, “It did. I guess the way I was playing, that’s why he did that. Gotta move on from it.”

Boston will get that opportunity as they host the Miami Heat in the regular season finale on Wednesday. Depending on what happens with the Heat tonight at Detroit, Wednesday’s game could very well be a game in which the winner will get the fourth seed and with it, home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

For Boston to be successful on Wednesday, they will need Thomas to perform better than we’ve seen the last two games which ended in Celtics losses.

In losses to Atlanta and Charlotte, Thomas’ increased number of turnovers really stood out. Thomas has averaged five turnovers in the last two games which nearly doubles his season average which is 2.7.

Thomas said he and Stevens did discuss his lack of playing time on Monday. And while Thomas said Stevens didn’t give him a specific reason, Thomas knows all too well what was happening and not happening in the game that made Stevens want to chart a new course that for that game, did not include Thomas in the fourth quarter.

“That group wasn’t doing anything for the most part and [Stevens] wanted to see something new,” Thomas said. “Just knowing him and rotations . . . I’m trying to look forward to tomorrow and playing better individually and as a team.”

Thomas holds no ill will towards Stevens or anger. But he acknowledges spending most of Monday’s game on the sideline has made him even more focused going into Wednesday night’s game against Miami.

“It makes me come out the next game on fire, with a different mindset,” Thomas said. “It makes you re-think things, lock back in and play better.”

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

1:13 - The Celtics came away with a 105-100 win in Portland on Friday night. Find out why Chris Mannix is calling this the best Celtics win of the season.

6:05 - Mannix discusses details about Kyrie Irving’s ‘minimally invasive’ procedure on his knee and what his level of concern is with A. Sherrod Blakely and Gary Tanguay.

10:03 - Michael Holley and Tom Curran discuss what NFL players, including Devin McCourty, are doing beyond the gridiron by being active in criminal justice reform discussions held at Harvard this week.



Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

When you think about Marcus Morris these days, big-time scoring immediately comes to mind. 

But in Boston’s 105-100 comeback win over Portland, Morris’ contributions went beyond the game-high 30 points he dropped on the Blazers.

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“Coach (Brad Stevens) is doing a great job of getting me the ball in my spots and my teammates are finding me,” Morris told reporters after the win. “And I’m just coming through.”

He’s providing strong play and a tremendous presence at both ends of the floor which has been critical to the team navigating some choppy waters with a number of regular rotation players – namely Kyrie Irving – out with injuries.

“One thing is, he’s healthy,” said Boston’s Al Horford, referring to the sore knee that limited Morris earlier this season and at times forced him to miss games. “And the other is, he’s just more confident, he’s playing very assertive. He’s playing great right now, in a really good rhythm.”

Said Stevens: “That’s been him (Morris). As he’s continued to feel better; I think physically he’s felt as good as he’s felt. He’s comfortable in our system and we need him to score. If you’re a basketball player and your job is to score, that’s a pretty good job.”

And it’s one that even with all the injuries Boston has played through, few envisioned him being such an integral part of the offense. 

Morris’ calling card prior to arriving in Boston was his defense. 

But Morris has made it known that his focus on the floor is to be as complete a player as possible.

“I’m not trying to just limit myself to just being that scorer,” Morris said. “Also, on the defensive end I think I’m bringing it; my defense has gotten a lot better, especially my on-the-ball defense. I’m trying to be that all-around player and not just an offensive player … but I can score.”