NEW ORLEANS – There was a moment in Monday’s 111-93 Boston Celtics win over New Orleans when Kelly Olynyk looked up at the scoreboard and was seemingly amazed at what he saw.
“I look up at the scoreboard and Isaiah (Thomas) has every point and Sully has every rebound,” quipped Olynyk. “I was like, ‘get ‘em all man. I’ll be there as an outlet if you need me.’”
Indeed, Isaiah Thomas and Jared Sullinger were a lethal 1-2 punch scoring and rebound, respectively, on Monday.
And their dominance was among the many factors that came into play as Boston closed out its West coast road trip with a strong performance.
For Thomas, his game-high 22 points was nothing unusual.
But Sullinger’s game was among the best he’s ever had in the NBA with his team-leading sixth double-double was made of 11 points and a career high-tying 20 rebounds.
“I think the ball just kind of found me,” Sullinger said. “I think the basketball gods said, ‘today, you’re not going to make a lot of shots. Do something else.’ And sure enough, the ball just kind of found my hand on rebounds.”
And his play was rewarded with more minutes than usual, which isn’t exactly what one would expect at the end of a five-game road trip.
“He’s a good rebounder,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “His position is good. He played a lot of minutes tonight which is good at the end of a five-game trip. It shows a lot of progress on his part, both offensively and defensively. To play with that kind of energy all the way through the game, and he scored it late.”
Sullinger wasn’t the only player to stand out as Boston (12-9) improved its record to 3-2 on this road trip, and 4-1 against Western Conference teams on the road this season.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Monday night’s game
Sullinger played one of his best games ever, and it wasn’t just because he grabbed a career high-tying 20 rebounds. His defense (he got some help, too) on Anthony Davis was one of the main reasons the Pelicans were never really in tonight’s game.
With Avery Bradley (11 points, 3-for-8 shooting) having what was a rare off night shooting the ball, Olynyk was more than up to the challenge of helping fill that scoring void. He finished with 21 points off the bench on 8-for-13 shooting. In addition, Olynyk had three rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
It was yet another efficient night for Thomas shooting the ball, with most of his damage being inflicted in the first half. He finished with a game-high 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting along with five assists.
He has been one of the league’s top scorers off the bench, and his play on Monday was consistent with what he has done this season. He led the Pelicans with 18 points on 7-for-17 shooting along with nine rebounds and two assists.
Early foul trouble was indeed a factor in his slow start, but that doesn’t explain away how he had little to no impact even when he was on the floor and his foul troubles were a non-issue. Kudos to Boston’s defense for limiting Davis to just 16 points on 8-for-21 shooting, and six rebounds.
New Orleans backcourt
Now Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas are pretty good, but deliver-a-shut-out good? Not sure about that. But what we do know is on Monday, the Pelicans starting backcourt of Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans were a combined 0-for-7 from the field and were scoreless – yes, that’s correct, scoreless – for the game.