Isaiah Thomas believes Celtics might have Banner 18 if he was still around

Isaiah Thomas believes Celtics might have Banner 18 if he was still around

BOSTON — What might have been if the Celtics had kept Isaiah Thomas around instead of dealing him for Kyrie Irving?

"We would have probably won a championship already,” Thomas confidently declared after his Denver Nuggets posted a 114-105 triumph over the Celtics in his first game back on the court in at TD Garden since the jaw-dropper that delivered him to Cleveland in August 2017.

“It was tough when it happened because it was out of nowhere and I was hurt,” said Thomas. “If I was able to play off the trade, I think it would have been easier for me to get through that. But I don't hold any grudges. I'm through it. Things happen. Everything happens for a reason and I'm just glad to be back healthy and be back out there.”

Denver’s win clinched a playoff spot for the Nuggets, who also shuffled into a tie with the Golden State Warriors atop the Western Conference standings. And, while Thomas' opinion is heavily biased, particularly coming on an emotional night where he was honored by his former team, he believes the current iteration of Boston’s roster is still built for postseason success.

“They’re going to go deep in the playoffs,” said Thomas. Given all of Boston’s up-and-down play this season, he was pressed on why he’s so bullish on the Celtics' chances?

“They got too many talented guys. And that’s not a bad thing,” said Thomas. “But, you see, when those [young] guys went all the way to Game 7 without the main guys [Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward], and then the main guys come back, and it’s tough for anybody to take a back seat. So it’s tough. 

"I know [coach] Brad [Stevens] has a tough job, and those guys have a tough job, wanting to be where they thought they would be, but the [younger] guys gotta take a back seat because that’s just what it is. I mean, they’ll figure it out. They’re a great team, they’ve got a great coaching staff, they got guys with no egos. They’ll figure it out when the time needs to.”

The idea of a Celtics-Nuggets Finals was then pitched to Thomas, who smiled wide at the suggestion.

"Hell yeah, and I’ll play,” said Thomas. "That would be perfect. I’d love that. But any time coming back here would be a perfect situation.”

Thomas kept a sense of humor about his own scoreless performance after logging seven first-quarter minutes in the aftermath of his emotional tribute video.

"I didn’t think I missed in this building but I haven’t been here in a while,” he cracked. "But I was just glad that I was able to get out there and play no matter how long I played. It was fun to be able to do that in front of the best fans in the world.”

In a sprawling postgame press conference, Thomas showed all the emotions that made him so revered here. There was a combination of nostalgia, confidence, and brutal honesty in many of his responses:

*How his green and gold Nikes were originally scheduled to be worn if the Celtics made the Finals in 2017 ("I knew coming back here I was going to wear something Celtics green,” said Thomas).

*How he playfully trash-talked former teammate Jaylen Brown during Monday’s game (“He always thought he could guard me but I told him I need six hands around me. I need three people to guard me,” said Thomas).

*How his short time in Boston was truly legendary. Said Thomas: “Those moments were everything and we did some legendary s---. I did some legendary s---, too. I'm just appreciative of those moments, I'm appreciative of being able to play for the Boston Celtics. You can't always say that. That's one of the top teams in the world, no matter what sport you're a part of."

Near the end of his session in front of a horde of cameras and microphones, Thomas was asked to sum up the city of Boston in a word or a sentence, Thomas again revealed his bias.

“Home,” he answered. "I went through a real-life situation here when I lost my sister [Chyna] that this whole city and organization went through with me,” said Thomas. "And I think that’s why … the love is always there, but that’s what took it to another level. I went through the worst situation you can possibly go through in life with these people and they were right there with me. 

"Everybody in the city, the organization, they were right there with me, they went through that with me. That’s why Boston means so much to me.”


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NBC Sports Boston to televise all 2019-20 Maine Red Claws home games

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NBC Sports Boston to televise all 2019-20 Maine Red Claws home games

Tacko Time is must-see TV for basketball fans, and there's about to be many more chances to see the 7-foot-7 Celtics rookie.

For the first time in the 11-year history of the Maine Red Claws, their full home schedule will be televised on NBC Sports Boston.

“This partnership gives both Red Claws and Celtics fans an opportunity to closely follow their G League team throughout the season, while providing an up-close view of the development of next-generation Celtics players,” Celtics Team President Rich Gotham said.

That next generation includes Tacko Fall and Tremont Waters, who are both signed to two-way contracts this season. The TV slate kicks off Friday, November 15 with live coverage of the Red Claws' home opener against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Here is the full list of dates, times, and opponents for Red Claws games that will be aired on NBC Sports Boston.


Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of the Maine Red Claws vs. the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, which tips off Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET , followed by Celtics Pregame Live before the C's face the Warriors. You can also stream both games through the MyTeams App.

NBA picks: Celtics vs. Warriors betting predictions, plays against the spread

NBA picks: Celtics vs. Warriors betting predictions, plays against the spread

Welcome to the "upside down," where the Golden State Warriors are the worst team in the NBA.

The Warriors are plummeting from grace, taking a 2-10 record and a five-game losing streak into Friday's matchup with the Boston Celtics, who remain the No. 1 team in basketball at 9-1.

We haven't quite had Celtics-level success picking Boston's games this season, but we're still above water at 15-8-1 overall and are 5-1-0 picking the moneyline, point spread and point total in the Celtics' last two contests.

As the C's pack their bags for a five-game West Coast swing, we'll look to roll along with them. Here are our betting picks for Celtics-Warriors, as well as two NBA locks against the spread.

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)

Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors, 10:30 p.m. ET

Moneyline: The Celtics (-330) got great contributions from their bench in Wednesday's win over the Washington Wizards. They'll need to tighten up that defense, but Boston's talent up and down the roster should help the C's cruise to their 10th consecutive win.

Point Spread: We suppose this could be a trap game. The Warriors have to snap their five-game losing streak at some point, and upstart rookie Eric Paschall could give Boston problems in the paint. That said ... Golden State is 1-4-1 against the spread at home this season (isn't Chase Center lovely, though?), and the Celtics (-7) are too deep not to win by double digits.

Point Total: The Celtics just scored their most points in regulation game since 1992 and are facing the second-worst defense in the NBA. The 223.5 point total is actually lower than Wednesday's game, but regardless, we're taking the OVER with the Celtics until notified otherwise.

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 15-8-1

NBA Locks of the Night

Washington Wizards at Minnesota Timberwolves (-7): The Wolves smoked the Wizards by 22 points in their own gym earlier this month. Maybe Washington makes an adjustment, but I'm riding Andrew Wiggins' hot hand and banking on Minnesota to handle its business.

Indiana Pacers at Houston Rockets (-5.5): This line has dropped after opening at 7.5, which suggests an upset could be brewing. I'm not buying it. Indiana is down Myles Turner and Jeremy Lamb against a Rockets team that's won five in a row and just dispatched the Los Angeles Clippers.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 9-6-1

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Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Warriors, which tips off Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10:30 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.