Which Celtic should Isaiah Thomas celebrate National Best Friend Day with?

Which Celtic should Isaiah Thomas celebrate National Best Friend Day with?

Happy National Best Friend Day! In case you didn’t know, National Best Friends Day is a real thing (or at least a fun hashtag on Twitter) and that got me thinking …

  • How many of my best friends consider me a best friend?
  • How many of my best friends consider me a friend?
  • Why do Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine have better chemistry than I do with my wife?
  • Does Draper’s relationship with Scal make A. Sherrod Blakely jealous?
  • Will Darren Rovell unblock me on Twitter?
  • Which Celtic is Isaiah Thomas’ best friend?

Answers to these questions are hard to come by, but we can make some educated guesses about the last one. The easy answer is Avery Bradley. Those two have been friends since their days growing up in Washington. But what about on the court? Who was Isaiah Thomas’ best friend on the court?

Thomas and Jae Crowder were the most used duo for the Celtics this year, playing a total of 1,789 minutes together on the floor during the regular season. Thomas’ Net Rating was 6.9 with Crowder on the court, and 0.5 with him on the bench.

Sounds like best friend material, right?

WRONG. Being someone’s best friend is about giving AND taking. Crowder’s Net Rating with I.T. was 6.9, but when Thomas was off the court it shot up to 10.3. You could argue Thomas is just using Crowder, but that’s none of our business.

The player who both helped and was helped by Isaiah Thomas the most was … Jonas Jerebko! Thomas’ Net Rating was 10.2 with the Swedish Swish on the floor, and fell to 3.3 without him. That’s a +6.9 Jonas Bonus. Jerebko got an even bigger boost from playing with Isaiah. Without I.T. Jerebko had a -4.7 Net Rating. That jumps top 10.2 when the Little Guy is in the game.

So there you have it. According to science, Jonas Jerebko is Isaiah Thomas’ best friend on the Celtics.

Blakely: Stevens has this coaching in March stuff down

Blakely: Stevens has this coaching in March stuff down

Sometimes we forget that a big part of why Brad Stevens is in Boston is because of what he has done as a coach this time of year.

He led a pair of Butler teams to deep postseason runs before coming up short in a pair of national title games.

Well, he’s embarking on a different kind of March Madness in leading the Celtics to a string of improbable wins, the latest being a 105-100 victory at Portland on Friday night.

It was the kind of victory that when you start to roll out the reasons why Stevens should be this season’s Coach of the Year winner, folks will use the win at Portland as an example.

The Blazers are not only one of the better teams at home, but they came in having won 13 of 14 games with the lone loss coming to Houston, which has the best record in the NBA.

But what made the victory so unexpected was the cut-and-paste lineup Stevens has employed because of a long rash of injuries.

Kyrie Irving missed his fifth consecutive game and is expected to be lost for another three to six weeks after having a procedure to on Saturday to help alleviate some of the soreness in his left knee.

Jaylen Brown has missed several games with a concussion, but he has progressed to where he's now questionable for the game in Sacramento on Sunday night. 

Boston was also without Marcus Smart (right thumb) who won’t be back until sometime in the playoffs.

And that doesn’t factor in Gordon Hayward (dislocated left ankle) or Daniel Theis (torn meniscus, left knee), both out for the season.

It’s easy to chalk up Stevens’ success to great Xs and O’s work.

But he’s doing more than that.

He’s inspiring a level of confidence in players that generated results exceeding all expectations; that is, expectations outside of their locker room.

Even when this team struggled with no clear signs of hope on the horizon, they didn’t blink.

Rather than use their less-than-ideal state as a justification for poor play, they funneled that energy and focus into becoming a better team - not better players, but a better team.

Because frankly, that is what we’ve seen from this group all season. Of course, you have your star in Irving, but this team has been a get-it-done-or-else squad all year that doesn’t get too locked into the success or struggles of any one teammate.

And that has allowed Boston to withstand the kind of injuries to key players that would have crippled many other teams.

But with the lack of bodies, there has been a lack of respect for how good this team really is.

Stevens has tapped into that and used it to help focus this team on playing great and most important, giving themselves a chance to win regardless of the opponent, regardless of how dire a situation may be.

And that has created the kind of March Madness Celtics fans are absolutely lovin’ right now.



Optimism that Kyrie will be back for playoffs

Optimism that Kyrie will be back for playoffs

Kyrie Irving underwent a left knee procedure on Saturday that will keep the five-time All-Star guard out for at least the start of the playoffs.

The Celtics indicated that Irving will be out for 3-6 weeks.

According to the Celtics, the procedure was to remove a tension wire in his left knee. The wire was originally placed there as part of the surgical repair of the fractured patella injury Irving suffered in the 2015 NBA Finals when he played for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Removing the wire is expected to lessen the irritation it was causing in Irving’s left patellar tendon.

The fractured patella injury from in 2015 has fully healed and, according to the Celtics, Irving’s knee has been found to be “completely structurally sound.”

The timetable for Irving's return is roughly the same as that of Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who last week had surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right thumb. 

Irving, who turned 26 on Friday, finishes his first regular season with Boston appearing in 60 games while averaging 24.4 points per game on a career-best 49.1 percent shooting from the field.