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Isaiah Thomas says Celtics didn't get better with Kyrie Irving, Cavs trade

Isaiah Thomas says Celtics didn't get better with Kyrie Irving, Cavs trade

The Celtics overhauled their roster this offseason by replacing 11 players, including Kyrie Irving who was brought in through a blockbuster trade with the Cavaliers, one that sent star Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland. The Celtics gave up a lot to get Irving and Thomas, for one, isn't sure if Boston will be better this season because of it.

Here is what Thomas wrote in the Players' Tribune this week:

It’s not that I don’t understand it. Of course I get it: This is a business. Danny [Ainge] is a businessman, and he made a business move. I don’t agree with it, just personally, and I don’t think the Boston Celtics got better by making this trade.

Thomas, who is of course biased in all of this, thinks the Cavs will be much better off:

From a basketball perspective, me on the Cavs is a match made in heaven. If you’ve watched any Celtics games last year, then you know how many times I would have to go through double and even triple teams, just to get my shot off. It ended up working fine for us — guys played great, and my shot was falling. But this year … man, it’s not even going to be a thing. You really going to throw three guys on me, when I’m sharing a court with the best basketball player on the planet? Nah, I don’t think so.

There are varying opinions about which team will be better because of this deal. Vegas sportsbooks, for example, think the Celtics will take a big step forward. Long-term, the Cavs seem to be in very good shape given they acquired a valuable first round pick in the deal.

Truthfully, it's hard to predict what will happen. The Celtics are tossing together a brand new group of players who have never played together before. It's a lot of talent, but that process is easier said than done. If Thomas is right, surely the Wizards and the rest of the Eastern Conference won't complain.

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NBA's last two minute report agrees with referees on strange Wizards-Clippers ending

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NBA's last two minute report agrees with referees on strange Wizards-Clippers ending

Those looking for solace in the NBA's last two minute report from Saturday's Wizards loss to the Clippers were disappointed on Sunday as the league has confirmed the ruling and explanation from the officiating crew.

The Wizards were affected by a mistake made by the clock operator in L.A. With 1.2 seconds left, the clock started early before the Wizards passed the ball inbounds to attempt a game-tying shot. The refs put 1.1 seconds back on the clock, but the Wizards were unsuccessful in their second try. 

As referee Bill Spooner explained following the game on Saturday, the rules dicate the Wizards should have been given 0.1 seconds on the clock instead of 1.1 and that's exactly how the NBA saw things in their last two minute report:

"After communicating with the Replay Center, it is determined that 0.1 seconds ran off the clock prior to the ball being legally touched. Since the basket by Beal (WAS) was scored after he game clock had expired, the Wizards retain possession on the sideline nearest the point of interruption and the game clock is incorrectly reset to 00:01.1 instead of 00:00.1, which is the amount of lost time."

Here is the play in question:

The Wizards were technically screwed by the clock starting early, but in the league's eyes it wasn't as bad as Wizards fans may argue.

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Wizards have been the most consistent NBA team at being inconsistent

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Wizards have been the most consistent NBA team at being inconsistent

The Wizards did something on Saturday in Los Angeles that has been head-scratchingly common for them this season, they lost to an objectively bad team. And, as has become custom, the Wizards led by double-digit points at one juncture and their opponent was missing several key players.

It was a game in which they had no excuse for losing.

"It’s frustrating. It’s a little bit beyond frustrating at this point," guard Bradley Beal said. "Like I just told Tim [Frazier], we should be tired of coming in here and saying ‘on to the next one, on to the next one.’ You run out of games at some point."

Head coach Scott Brooks appears beyond frustrated, as well. After the game he suggested over and over that there were players on his team that didn't show up to play. 

"We need all of our guys ready to play and we didn’t have that this afternoon," he said.

Brooks could have been referring to Kelly Oubre, Jr, or Markieff Morris, who had arguably their worst games of the season, but he wouldn't name names. It doesn't really matter because just about everyone has been a culprit at some point in these letdowns against lesser teams this season.

[RELATED: WIZARDS-CLIPPERS HAD A WEIRD ENDING]

The Wizards this season have been the NBA's most enigmatic and least predictable team. They have two very different versions of themselves and what you get appears to heavily depend on who they are playing.

This season the 14-12 Wizards have been markedly worse against losing teams than they have against teams at .500 or with a winning record. Basically, they play well against the good teams and bad against the bad ones. That's the definition of NBA insanity.

In the Eastern Conference, only the Celtics (8-4) and Cavs (7-4) have a better record against teams at .500 above than the Wizards, who are 8-5. That's the positive.

But the Wizards are just 6-7 against teams with losing records. Only the Hawks (5-7) and Bulls (5-9) have been worse in that category among teams in the East and they are terrible. The Wizards are the only NBA team currently with a reverse split of a losing record against losing teams and a winning record against winning teams.

The 2017-18 NBA season is only about a third of the way finished, and things may end up evening out, but the contrast the Wizards are seeing is very rare. No team has finished a season with a reverse split since at least the 2001-02 season (as far back as ESPN.com's expanded NBA standings go).

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It's usually the other way around and to a dramatic extent. Last season, the Wizards were 27-9 against teams with losing records compared to 22-24 vs. those at .500 or better. 

In every NBA season, even some good teams are bad against other good teams. And usually, even bad teams are good against other bad teams. Last season, seven teams that missed the playoffs had winning records against teams below .500, including the Knicks, Sixers and Kings.

This season the Wizards have already lost to the Hornets (9-16), Lakers (10-15), Clippers (9-15), Suns (9-19) and Mavericks (7-19). Their under. 500 difficulties also include defeats against the Jazz (13-14) and the Heat (12-13). Two more and they will match their total losses against sub-.500 teams from all of last season.

Many of the Wizards' games have been close and they are ending up on the wrong side far too often. Their losses against the Lakers, Heat and Clippers were all by three points or less.

No team in the East has had more games decided by three points or less than the Wizards, who are 1-5 in those scenarios. No one else in the East has lost more than three such games.

The Wizards only lost six games decided by three points or less all of last season. They were 9-6 in those games and only two teams won more of them.

The numbers from last year suggest the Wizards will snap out of this at some point, but like Beal said, it should probably happen sooner than later.

"We’ve gotta learn how to put teams away. We’ve gotta learn how to put our foot on the gas," he added. "These are important games and games that we need to win and should have won."

The Wizards keep playing up and down to their opponents and it's leading to a staggering amount of regrettable defeats.

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