Isaiah Thomas plays 4-on-4, nearing Cavs debut


Isaiah Thomas plays 4-on-4, nearing Cavs debut

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio - Cavaliers All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas played 4-on-4 on Wednesday, a significant step in his recovery from a hip injury.

Thomas, who has yet to make his debut with Cleveland, scrimmaged along with injured forward Tristan Thompson, rookies Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic, and members of the coaching staff.

With coach Tyronn Lue and members of the team's front office watching intently from behind the basket, Thomas moved freely and didn't appear to have any restrictions during the half-court workout that took place following the team's morning shootaround.

Lue reported that Thomas "looked good" and absorbed some contact. It was the second straight day Thomas scrimmaged.

However, Lue did not provide any update on when Thomas might play in a game. Lue planned to check with the team's medical staff to find out the next step in Thomas' recovery program, which the 28-year-old has described as his "slow grind."

Because of Cleveland's schedule, there aren't many practice days for Thomas to get in work with his teammates. Lue said it's possible he'll practice with members of the Canton Charge, the Cavs' D-League affiliate.

Thomas has been making steady progress and nearing his return to action and helping the Cavs, who acquired him during the summer in the blockbuster trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. Since training camp opened, the Cavs have said they expect Thomas to play in games by the end of 2017, and that projection could be moved up.

Thomas has been building up his workouts steadily as he recovers from a torn labrum in his right hip. It's possible Thomas could play in one of Cleveland's four home games this month before the team finishes December with three road games, including a Christmas Day matchup with the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

The Cavs would need to how Thomas recovers after taking contact during practice before he would be cleared to play.

"At the end of the day it's all about the next day," LeBron James said as he kept an eye on his teammates from the opposite corner of Cleveland Clinics Courts. "When they say they feel good the next day after a workout session, that's great to know."

Thompson has been sidelined since Nov. 1 with a strained left calf, but could return this week.

"Hopefully, yeah," Lue said. "Not sure how he's going to feel after today when he got done working out, so just trying to get a gauge on how he feels today, if there's any soreness or pain or anything and go from there."

Thompson said his return is completely up to the team's medical staff.

"I'm always ready to play, even when I first got hurt I was always ready to play," he said. "You've gotta listen to the medical team and that's their job, that's what they're here to do, to protect us and make sure when we come out to play we don't have nothing lingering or having a setback. When they say I'm ready to play and I'm ready to go, then, put back on the wine and gold."

James said the Cavaliers' 12-game winning streak has no bearing on when would be a good time for Thomas and Thompson to come back.

"That's not how we do it around here," he said. "When guys are healthy and are ready to get back in the lineup, then they'll be there, but there's never been no urgency for anyone."

The return of two rotational players will be a major challenge for Lue, who has spent much of the season juggling lineups because of injuries and trying to find the right combinations.

The Cavs have never played with Thomas, who averaged 28.9 points per game with Boston last year, but James said he has already visualized the impact the playmaker will have with Cleveland.

"I play a lot of NBA 2K," James said, referring to the video game. "It's the most realistic basketball game you could ever play. I mix and match a lot of lineup changes and things of that nature to see how we can be really good. I've done that."

And how do the Cavs look with Thomas?

"Looks pretty good," he said. "Looks pretty good."


NBA: Congrats to the Celtics on the win, but they for sure should not have won

File Photo

NBA: Congrats to the Celtics on the win, but they for sure should not have won

The NBA officials' Last Two Minute report for Tuesday is out, and boy did the Celtics get away with one!

The league admitted to missing two infractions -- both committed by Marcus Morris -- on the possession on which Morris hit a game-winning three-pointer against the Thunder. 

The C's began the possession with Morris inbounding the ball, but a stopwatch revealed to the league that Morris did not release the ball within the five seconds allotted on an inbounding play. Had the correct call been made, the ball would have been turned over to the Thunder, who at the time held a two-point lead with 7.7 seconds remaining. 

Furthermore, video replay led the league to determine that Morris traveled prior to taking the shot. The video evidence that suggested this was that Morris was wearing an NBA jersey in the video, but also he moved his pivot foot prior to the release of his dribble. That call would have also given the Thunder the ball. 

What these nerds didn't consider is that the basketball gods have more power than their stopwatches. What a win. 

Celtics have shown a knack for the comeback this year

AP Photo

Celtics have shown a knack for the comeback this year

BOSTON -- As I made my way towards the Boston Celtics locker room following their 100-99 win over Oklahoma City on Tuesday night, I walked past co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, who, as you might expect, was pleased with what he had just witnessed.
“That was a good one,” he said.
That’s one way to describe it.


But explaining the Houdini-like way the Celtics seem to get out of some serious jams over and over again, and against really good teams, is indeed a head-scratcher for most.
It’s getting to the point where we’re running out of fresh adjectives to describe this team, which has a knack for the comeback.
“Improbable” doesn’t do justice to how Boston’s hit-the-lottery luck has played out so often on nights when it seemed on the doorstep of defeat.
And this town loves a good comeback story, whether it’s Tom Brady leading the Patriots to a Super Bowl win after being down by 25 points, or the Celtics spotting the NBA champ Golden State Warriors a 17-point cushion before rallying for a meaningful November win -- a rarity in the NBA.
But the obscure and unexpected have become standard in this seemingly alternate basketball universe that the Celtics play in, one that we have been bearing witness to all season.

I mean, look at their body of work:

DECEMBER 18: Down by one on the road at Indiana in the closing seconds of play in what appears to be a tough road loss, Terry Rozier steals and races down the floor looking like Deion Sanders in high-tops, for a game-winning dunk.

DECEMBER 28: Trailing the Houston Rockets by 26 points in the third quarter, they rally back and steal the win with not one, but two offensive fouls drawn in the last minute by Marcus Smart against perennial league MVP candidate James Harden.

JANUARY 11: In London, they erased a 22-point deficit and defeated Philly.

FEBRUARY 4: There was a buzzer-beater by Al Horford to beat Portland on Super Bowl Sunday.

And . . . well, you get the idea.

Boston has six wins by a single point this season, which is tied with Miami for the season lead and is one shy of tying the franchise record for one-point wins in a season. 

In addition, Boston has won 10 games this season in which it fell behind by 12 or more points. 
Winning so many games under less-than-ideal circumstances has not only padded the Celtics' win total, but also reinforced this team with a Teflon-strong mindset. They believe they're tthe ultimate practitioner of basketball necromancy, consistently finding a way to rise up from the basketball graveyard of defeat and win in dramatic fashion.

Like they did Tuesday night against the Thunder.

How can you bank on Carmelo Anthony, a career 81.2 percent free-throw shooter, missing a pair with less than nine seconds to play?
Or botching the play Brad Stevens drew up at the end of the game -- "We kind of messed [it] up," said Jayson Tatum -- but, rather than it leading to a turnover, instead becoming a game-winning 3-pointer by Marcus Morris with 1.8 seconds to spare? 


 It was another crazy ending in what has been a season filled with bizarre finishes, jaw-dropping rallies and a never-say-it’s-over brand of basketball that has kept Celtics fans on the edge of their seats all season.
“It’s great to be in a situation where you’re down six with under a minute to play or whatever it was, and you find a way to win the game,” said Stevens. “That’s going to be pretty unique, but they just kept playing the next possession and we were fortunate that that shot went down. That was a heck of a shot by Marcus."
A heck of a shot?
But in this bizarro world of Celtics basketball this season, it was predictable as the Thunder became yet another team to play Boston and leave wondering the same thing most Celtics fans do … “Did THAT just happen?