Celtics

Thomas' world turned upside down in one short year

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Thomas' world turned upside down in one short year

WASHINGTON -- It was less than a year ago that Isaiah Thomas was the darling of the NBA, the undersized scoring machine who fought through the kind of emotional pain and adversity you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. 
 
Then came the hip injury that would sideline him for the start of this season, followed by an unexpected trade to Cleveland that clearly left the ex-Celtic with a bitter taste in his mouth. 

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That was followed by a slow start with the Cavs upon his return, which led to some straight-no-chaser comments by Thomas about the team’s fight, which -- as you can imagine -- did not go over well with teammates, Cleveland fans or the media. 

And that brings us to Thomas once again being on the move. 
 
According to ESPN, Cleveland has traded the two-time All-Star along with Channing Frye, to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. The Cavs also threw in a protected 2018 first-round pick to seal the deal. 

Thomas would be the first of many players on the move from Cleveland, with the Cavs reportedly also trading away Dwyane Wade (to Miami) along with Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose (both to Utah).


 
There will be plenty of reports on what the Thomas deal means to the Cavs roster (they get younger) as well as the Lakers (more salary cap space in the summer by adding two expiring contracts).
 
But I’m most concerned about what this does for Thomas, a player that will always have a special place in the heart of Celtics fans for how he performed in his two-plus years in Boston. 
 
While it’s true that the whole video tribute thing rubbed some folks the wrong way around here, that doesn’t diminish what Thomas did for the organization when he was a Celtic. 
 
But history has little value in this day and age of the NBA. 

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Thomas goes to Los Angeles just a few months away from hitting free agency, a time when it seemed a given that the 5-foot-9 guard was going to indeed get that Brinks truck that he talks about from time to time, to show up well stocked. 
 
About that . . . 
 
Thomas will get a bump in pay for sure, but it’s probably not going to be as substantial as he would want. 
 
In Cleveland, Thomas had a chance to re-assert himself as an elite scorer who could contribute significantly to winning games. 
 
But as the Cavs struggled before and after his return, Thomas’ impact on winning was brought into question. 

Some of his comments were taken as jabs against his teammates, the coaching staff and the organization as a whole which bothered many considering his numbers offensively weren't great and some of his defensive numbers ranked among the worst all-time. 
 
And now that he’s with the Lakers, who are more concerned with salary cap flexibility and youth development, Thomas will have a much harder time this offseason getting the kind of deal he feels his hard work and steady improvement warrant. 
 
Which is too bad, because the way he was able to play at the highest of levels dealing with the untimely death of his younger sister, made everyone around the league for a time Isaiah Thomas fans. 

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It had all the trappings of a feel-good, made-for-the-big-screen production. 
 
But looking at how quickly things went south in Cleveland, and how unpredictable things look on the horizon with the Lakers, it’s hard to imagine that this story is going to have a happy ending for Thomas. 
 

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Celtics-Cavaliers preview: How will C's respond to blowout Game 3 loss?

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: How will C's respond to blowout Game 3 loss?

CLEVELAND – This season has been one lesson learned after another for the Boston Celtics, a team that has taken those teachings and transformed them into better play moving forward. 

It is a trend the Celtics hope to continue tonight as they try and bounce back from a 116-86 Game 3 thrashing at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers who now trail Boston 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. 

“All season I feel like we've been learning,” said Boston’s Al Horford. “We've been put in different positions. And now we're in a position that we need to bounce back, and (tonight) we have a good opportunity.”

Boston doesn’t have a ton of experience this season when it comes to suffering double-digit losses. 

In fact, the Celtics only suffered nine losses by 10 or more points this season. 

But here’s the thing: 

You hear players on this team talk all the time about putting the last game quickly behind them, win or lose. 

Well, that has certainly been the case when they have suffered losses by 10 or more points, evident by them posting an impressive 8-1 regular season record in the games that followed double-digit defeats. 

So if the Celtics seem extremely calm right now, that’s why.

“Everybody loses games,” said Boston’s Jayson Tatum. “The NBA is such a quick turnaround that you really can't be down, especially in the playoffs.”

The Celtics will be fine in terms of their approach mentally to Game 4. The bigger issue is doing a better job of executing at both ends of the floor and doing so without being thrown off their rhythm by the crowd noise that’s pumped into the Quicken Loans Arena that players acknowledged made communicating tougher than usual in Game 3.

“It's going to be loud. But that can't be an excuse for us,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “The young guys know that. It's alright, it's one game. The one thing about this sport, you get a chance to go out there and do it again, so it's a blessing to have that opportunity.”

And for the Celtics, tonight’s game offers more than just a chance to exact some payback for a dismal Game 3 performance. It also moves them one step closer towards the NBA Final.

But make no mistake about it. 

The sting of how thoroughly the Celtics were outplayed is indeed on the minds of some players heading into tonight’s game. 

“I use it as fuel because I thought it was embarrassing,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “I thought we came out, the way I played, the way I performed, how not aggressive I was in the first half, I look at that as fuel to come out in Game 3 and be excited about it and be ready to play and ready to fight.

Brown added, “We can't look at the last game and get down on ourselves or

think we're out of the series because we lost one game. That's what the world thinks, that's what the world wants us to think, so we're going to come out and play some basketball (tonight), regardless of what anybody got to say.”

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David Ortiz once came through in the clutch for Al Horford's wedding

David Ortiz once came through in the clutch for Al Horford's wedding

David Ortiz doesn't only come through in the clutch when he's in the batter's box.

He also delivers in clutch situations off the field. Take Al Horford's wedding for example. The Celtics big man had a last-minute wedding in the Dominican Republic and desperately needed a car to pick up his wife-to-be. Big Papi saved the day, sending Horford his Phantom and a driver. He even let them keep the car for a couple of days.

Horford told the story to the NBCS Camera Guys, who you should definitely follow on Twitter if you haven't already. . .

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