Wizards offense wears Isaiah Thomas down by picking on him

Wizards offense wears Isaiah Thomas down by picking on him

WASHINGTON – For most of Isaiah Thomas’ basketball career, the 5-foot-9 guard has had to guard bigger players. 

So the idea of having to guard someone several inches taller wasn’t anything new or unexpected. 

But Washington’s ability to generate some offense with points in the paint scored against Thomas was among the many keys to the Wizards pulling away for what was a dominant 116-89 drubbing. 

The purpose of doing so is two-fold: to take advantage of the edge in size that all their players have over Thomas, and maybe wear him down so that he’s not as effective scoring the ball like he was in Game 2 when he had a career playoff-high 53 points. 

Washington was successful on both fronts as Thomas scored just 13 points on 3-for-8 shooting in the Game 3 loss. 

Thomas recalled Washington’s 6-foot-9 Otto Porter Jr. twice backing him down into the paint to score and Bojan Bogdanovic who is 6-foot-7, also finding success the one time he tried to as well. 

Washington’s Bradley Beal tried to go at Thomas in the paint, but the 6-foot-4 guard didn’t have any luck. 

“They wanted to go at me,” Thomas said, adding, “but it wasn’t as much as it looked like. We’ll be fine; I’ll be fine.”

Wizards guard John Wall acknowledged going at Thomas was a key aspect of Washington’s game plan heading into Game 3. 

“We tried to, but then in the second quarter they got into doubling a little bit and we had a couple of turnovers,” Wall said. “We just have to do a better job of watching film with our spacing. But I think that it was a great … (Porter Jr.) was aggressive and got into the paint. That’s what you have to do. The first two games we kind of let Isaiah off the hook and just let him rest on the other end.”

Beal echoed similar sentiments about the Wizards’ game plan against Thomas and the Celtics.

“It was a key,” Beal said. “He got two fouls early. They are trying to hide him a little bit. We wanted to expose that. Otto gave him some trouble in the post; John did too. We were able to move the ball ot of it and that’s a good look for us. Of course, we’re going to continue to stick with it if they are going to continue to hide him.”

Even with the Wizards looking to attack Thomas more than usual, it’s not like Washington wanting to go at Thomas regularly is any different than what most teams try to do when they face the two-time all-star and the Celtics. 

“Everybody on the court was aware of where he was,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “You cannot expect him to go for 50 every night. But that was not the game. I think the game was them attacking us on both ends of the court. They put us on our heels.”

And from there, on their backs to the point where Washington’s lead ballooned to as many as 30 points. 

Thomas didn’t hesitate to credit the Wizards for a well-played game, doing what they needed to do to get back in this series. 

“They did a really good job tonight at both ends of the floor; they set the tone,” Thomas said. 

But he remains confident that he and the Celtics will make the necessary changes and play a better game when the two face off on Sunday in Game 4. 

“We’ll make the adjustments as a team,” Thomas said. “I’ll watch film, make the adjustments of myself, and see where I can pick them apart.”

Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

File Photo

Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas back in green? Maybe there's a chance after all.

The former Celtics guard, now with the Lakers, started a Q&A session on Twitter and was asked whether he'd consider returning to Boston this offseason. This was his answer...

That's not a no.

Thomas has had a rough go of it since leaving the Celtics. His brief tenure in Cleveland didn't go according to plan, and things haven't gotten a whole lot better out in L.A. The 29-year-old is averaging 15.3 points per game just a year after averaging 28.9 with Boston.

Let the speculation begin.


Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Al Horford understands that there’s plenty of blame pie to go around following Boston’s 108-89 loss to New Orleans. 

Considering how Pelicans stud Anthony Davis dominated the game on so many levels Sunday night, Horford was quick to acknowledge his role in the loss. 

“He (Davis) was able to get behind our defense a lot,” Horford told reporters after the loss. “Some mistakes on my end; gotta give him credit. He dominated tonight. I’ll definitely take the blame for that.”

Davis finished with a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds, a total that would have been higher if not for the game being so lopsided which allowed Davis to head to the bench early in the fourth. 

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And Horford’s struggles defensively were just as problematic on offense as the five-time All-Star tallied just six points on 3-for-11 shooting to go with four rebounds and three assists. 

Boston has been a team whose collective sums have fueled their success. 

But Horford understands he has to be a high impact performer, a job that’s even more vital when key starters like Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) and Jaylen Brown (concussion) are out as well as top reserves Marcus Smart (right thumb) and Daniel Theis (torn meniscus). 

And by Horford’s own admission, he just didn’t bring it on Sunday at a level to give him and the Celtics a legit shot at winning the game.

“Defensively we had too many breakdowns,” Horford said. “And the game got away from us in the second half. So there’s no excuses. I didn’t give us a chance, either; missing a lot of looks offensively. I just need to be better.”

And he’ll have to be if Boston (47-23) is to get back on track with a win on Tuesday against a talented Oklahoma City squad led by Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. 

At full strength, the Thunder would be a significant challenge for the Celtics. 

But having a roster with a number of key players out with injuries, it becomes even more imperative for Boston’s top players to elevate their play. 

And as you scan this Celtics roster and examine those who are healthy enough to play, it’s clear that Horford more than any other Boston player, has to find a way to become more impactful.

Certainly, more points and rebounds would help. 

But as we’ve seen time and time again with Horford, often his greatest contributions to winning games don’t necessarily show up in the final box score. 

That being said, a six-point, four-rebound game doesn’t cut it. 

Horford has to be better, something he knows better than anyone. 

“I’ll definitely look at the film and see how I can be better individually,” Horford said. “The good thing about the NBA, is we have a chance to play on Tuesday. Hopefully we’ll learn from this game and be ready to go Tuesday at home.”