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Kobe Bryant is helping Celtics' Isaiah Thomas scout the Wizards before playoff games

Kobe Bryant is helping Celtics' Isaiah Thomas scout the Wizards before playoff games

Isaiah Thomas took his game to another level on Tuesday night in the Celtics' Game 2 win over the Wizards with 53 points, including 29 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Thomas is a great scorer currently playing the best basketball of his career. He's also getting help from a pretty good source.

Thomas revealed on Wednesday at Celtics practice that he has been getting tips on a regular basis from NBA legend Kobe Bryant. The former Lakers superstar retired from the game last season, but is still making an impact, this time for the Celtics and not against them as a rival.

Bryant began helping Thomas after the Celtics lost the first two games of their first round series to the Chicago Bulls. Since, Bryant has been speaking with him regularly. Bryant has broken down how the Wizards are defending him.

"He reached out on behalf of my sister when [she passed away]," Thomas said of Bryant. "He wanted to go over film with me. He called me and we did it. He made me figure out a lot of things... He's just been a very helping hand when it comes to the film and figuring out what to do the next day."

[RELATED: Thomas's son has foolproof plan for stopping Wall]

The relationship has continued into the Celtics' series against the Wizards. Boston currently holds a 2-0 series lead on Washington as the series shifts to the Verizon Center for Game 3 on Thursday night.

"He's been sending me a text before and after every game since the first round. He definitely helps. He just tells me what he sees and what I should be watching for in film," Thomas said.

Thomas was surprised at the detail Bryant paid attention to.

"Mentally, he's just on a different level than anybody I've ever met. We were on the phone for 30 minutes. I e-mailed him my film and he watched every second, telling me what times to go to look at and certain plays and things I didn't look at when I watched film. Mentally, you can tell he's one of the greatest ever."

Working with Bryant has been surreal for Thomas. He's also received texts from Tom Brady, Floyd Mayweather, and Allen Iverson, a voicemail from Kevin Garnett and messages from many others.

But working with Bryant like he has is a dream come true.

"He's just trying to help out and that's probably the craziest thing that has happened to me," Thomas said. "I remember I was at home in Washington. I was on the phone and my mom kept saying 'who are you talking to?' I had to put it on mute and tell her it was Kobe. Then, she started tripping a little bit. That was fun."

[RELATED: Celtics' Thomas on playing on his late sister's birthday]

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Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

WASHINGTON -- Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has translated so smoothly to the NBA level that it is easy to forget he is still just a rookie with only 31 games under his belt. For a reminder of his inexperience, just look at the fourth quarter.

Hachimura tends to start games hot on the offensive end, like he did on Friday in the Wizards' loss to the Cavaliers when he had eight points by the end of the first quarter. But he scored only nine points after that and went scoreless through seven minutes in the fourth.

That has been a consistent theme for him this season. He averages 4.8 points in the first quarter shooting 48.4 percent from the field, 4.0 points in the second shooting 57 percent and then 4.3 points on 47.9 percent in the third. In the fourth quarter those numbers plummet to 1.9 points on average and 33.3 percent shooting.

Basically, Hachimura often comes out on fire but then slows down considerably once opponents make midgame changes. Against the Cavs, Hachimura said it was because they disrupted passing lanes.

"They are an NBA team. They just adjusted. They didn't want me to catch the ball. They didn't let me just catch the ball. I think that's why," he said.

The Wizards have seen teams switch defensive match-ups midgame to counter Hachimura. Sometimes taking away his midrange jumper will be prioritized. The Cavs seemed to find success playing Hachimura more physically in the second half, bumping him away from his comfort zones.

Over time, Hachimura can improve his ability to sustain scoring throughout games simply by becoming more versatile. The more consistent he becomes at making three-point shots and creating off the dribble, the more difficult it will be for teams to stop him. As long as he keeps improving, he will reach a point where he can stay ahead of the defense with a multitude of counters.

Developing a more reliable outside game and more dribble combinations will take some time. For now, Hachimura believes the key to him keeping up his scoring pace involves working with his teammates, particularly star shooting guard Bradley Beal.

"I just gotta connect more with Brad. Brad is the one everybody is trying to guard. Screens and pick-and-rolls with him, that kind of stuff will help me," Hachimura said.

Hachimura's game against the Cavaliers reflected how the team played overall. After scoring 41 points in the first quarter, they managed only 42 in the second half. They blew a 16-point lead and lost, 113-108.

So, he wasn't alone. And those rooting for Hachimura to round out his game should feel good about his odds. He has a relentless work ethic and is often staying after practice to go over film with player development coach Dave Adkins.

Hachimura is perceptive and driven to improve. In order to take the next step as a scorer, he will have to get better at closing games.

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Tristan Thompson calls Bradley Beal one of the best shooting guards in the league

Tristan Thompson calls Bradley Beal one of the best shooting guards in the league

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson spoke with reporters after the team's victory over the Wizards Friday night, praising Bradley Beal, who was snubbed from All-Star consideration this season despite averaging nearly 30 points-per-game.

The Cavaliers held the Wizards to just 21 points in the fourth quarter, and Thompson said their main focus was neutralizing Beal.

"The Wizards are really good offensively when they are making their runs," Thompson said postgame. "Bradley Beal is an All-Star in our league. One of the top-three two-guards in our league right now, so we were just trying to make it tough for him."

Beal finished the night with 26 points, but struggled from the floor. Beal shot 9-for-28 from the floor and the Cavaliers' stingy defense was clearly a factor.

Beal and the Wizards will have a chance to get back on track on Sunday night at Capital One Arena when they host the Chicago Bulls for the final time this season.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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