Celtics 129, Wizards 119 OT – Celtics lead 2-0 with Game 3 in Washington on Thursday
Isaiah Thomas scored 29 points after the third quarter on his late sister’s 23rd birthday and finished with 53 points in Tuesday’s Game 2 win, good for the second highest scoring playoff game in Boston history. The franchise record is 54 points, set by John Havlicek in 1973. After Otto Porter hit a 3-pointer with just over 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Thomas countered with two free throws to tie it and send the game to overtime. Oh, and he also had 10 hours of oral surgery over the last two days on three of his teeth to replace the one he lost yesterday and was tired, in pain and swollen earlier on Tuesday afternoon. Al Horford said most guys wouldn’t have played, but Thomas said that once he got around his team and the swelling went down, he felt that he could go. He also face-planted on the court in the second half and his teeth were likely saved because he wore a mouth guard for the first time in his career. I thought he might have knocked his tooth out again, but it didn’t happen. Thomas is still incredibly emotional about the loss of his sister and this was just an amazing performance. And I would pay money to have heard the exchange that he and Markieff Morris had when Thomas caused him to foul out in overtime. More on Morris later. Thomas finished with four boards, four assists, three steals and five 3-pointers in addition to his 53 points and hit 18-of-33 shots and 12-of-13 free throws. And then dedicated the game to his sister. What a story.
Al Horford added 15 points, nine rebounds, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley scored 14 and Terry Rozier was instrumental off the bench, finishing with 12 points, six rebounds, four assists, a steal and two 3-pointers. Marcus Smart added nine points, four boards, five assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer, and Kelly Olynyk had eight points, two rebounds, three assists, hitting all three of his shots, including two 3-pointers. The Celtics are going to need to be firing on all cylinders to win one of the next two games in Washington, but given the fact they were in an 0-2 hole after dropping the first two games at home against the Bulls, they should be ready for just about anything at this point. Bradley suffered a hip pointer and went to the locker room, but came back and played through it. He looked a little stiff upon his return, but came through with a huge 3-pointer and some other big plays after suffering the injury. It looks like he’ll be fine.
Lost in all the Thomas hoopla was the game that John Wall had for the Wizards. He racked up 40 points, three boards, 13 assists, three steals, three blocks and three 3-pointers on 16-of-32 shooting. This was one of the best head-to-head games I’ve ever seen between two point guards. In fact, it’s probably THE best one I’ve ever seen, and may ever see. Morris scored 16 with six boards, three assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer before fouling out, Bradley Beal (4-of-15 shooting) and Marcin Gortat (10 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks before fouling out) each scored 14, and Otto Porter Jr. scored 13 (9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, a 3-pointer) to round out the starters. Kelly Oubre added 12 points and seven boards off the bench, and Jason Smith had 10 points and two 3-pointers, also off the pine. Porter hit his nose on the back of Thomas’ head and had blood gushing from it, but he was also able to return and play through it. Beal had an off night and the Wizards will need his shot to fall in Games 3 and 4 in Washington. As for Morris, he played on a bum ankle after getting tangled up with Al Horford in Game 1. He said he would ask Horford if it was intentional and he did so during the game. He must not have liked the answer he got, as he threw Horford out of bounds after fighting for a rebound. He also picked up a technical foul for jawing with Thomas, which he did throughout the second half, especially after he fouled out while trying to guard him. Scott Brooks praised Morris for his toughness after the game, but there’s a pretty fine line between being tough and inappropriate. He was toeing that line all night and while Thomas didn’t say that Morris helped fuel his 4th/OT explosion, I’m pretty sure it helped. You won’t see a better game than the one we saw on Tuesday night, which was a welcomed relief after the snooze-fest we got on Monday.
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Warriors 106, Jazz 94 – Warriors lead 1-0 with Game 2 on Thursday at Oracle
The Dubs used a balanced attack that saw all five starters score at least 10 points, including center Zaza Pachulia (10 points, 1 rebound, 1 block). Stephen Curry had 22 points, seven boards, five assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in 30 minutes, Draymond Green filled the stat sheet with 17 points, eight rebounds, six dimes, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers, Kevin Durant scored 17 with five boards, five assists, a steal and a 3-pointer, and Klay Thompson added 15 points and three 3-pointers in the easy win. It wasn’t as close as the final score suggests. Shaun Livingston had nine points, five boards, a steal and a block off the bench, while Ian Clark, David West, Andre Iguodala and JaVale McGee also scored off the bench in the win. The Warriors jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back, although the Jazz did hang in there during the second half, when the Warriors took their foot off the gas. Curry came up lame in the second half after a layup and was also poked in the eye. He was attended to by trainers and had his shoe off late, but coach Mike Brown said he’s “fine” after the game. Curry only played about 30 seconds in the fourth quarter, but I’m guessing he could have played the whole thing. The Warriors simply didn’t need him. He has a history of ankle injuries but has been pretty healthy for the last couple seasons, so hopefully this injury is as minor as it initially appears to be.
Joe Johnson moved into the starting lineup for the Jazz, sending Boris Diaw to the bench, while Derrick Favors played through his sore back. Rudy Gobert led the way with 13 points, eight rebounds, three assists, a steal and three blocks, Gordon Hayward hit just 4-of-15 shots and 2-of-9 3-pointers for 12 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block, and Johnson had 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers in 22 minutes. Rodney Hood was the only other Jazz player in double figures, scoring 12 points with five rebounds off the bench. He missed all four of his 3-pointers. The entire Jazz bench scored in this one, but only Hood hit double digits. Favors played just 12 minutes, as his back was clearly an issue, and finished with four points, five rebounds and nothing else. It’s hard to imagine the Jazz not getting swept in this series.
Raptors @ Cavaliers at 7 p.m. on TNT – Cavs lead 1-0 – LeBron James is playing at a really high level right now and will look to take a 2-0 lead on the Raptors at home. Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson were all solid in Game 1, so look for more of the same tonight. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will do the heavy lifting for the Raptors, but they’ll need Jonas Valanciunas and Norman Powell to step up if they’re going to steal a game in Cleveland.
Rockets @ Spurs at 9:30 p.m. on TNT – Rockets lead 1-0 – The Spurs were flat out embarrassed on Monday night at home and will try to right the ship tonight. If Houston wins this game, unlike the Bulls, the Spurs are toast, giving the ultimate homecourt advantage to James Harden and the Rockets. I don’t think the Spurs match up very well with Houston and wouldn’t be surprised if the Rockets steal Game 2, as well.