BOSTON -- The Celtics know Isaiah Thomas is a liability on defense, so they're trying to hide him on any player not named John Wall or Bradley Beal. The 5-9 point guard still had a tough task of trying to chase the 6-8 Otto Porter on a curl to the basket in Game 1. It cost them two points as Porter hit the floater in the lane. And a front tooth.
Porter, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds, was oblivious to what took place with a 22-5 lead.
"I saw him smile one time and I was like, 'Yo, you missing a tooth. When did that happen?" Porter said.
Thomas' tooth could be seen flying out of his mouth. He picked it up for replacement later. Then, he responded by knocking down consecutive threes as he led Boston from 17 points down to a 123-111 victory in Game 1 Sunday. Game 2 is Tuesday at TD Garden.
"I saw the replay. I came off a tight curl. I kind of reached back for the ball and I guess he was right there and got him," Porter said. "The crazy thing is I didn't feel it until after it happened. I didn't even know it was him."
Given the height differential, Thomas will be elbow level vs. Porter. It's the price he's surely willing to pay if it results in wins for the Celtics. Fortunately for him, Porter isn't a big, physical forward nor is he that type of player.
But one shot to the head could render a more serious result such as a concussion if Thomas isn't careful about how he tries to chase Porter among the trees. Marcin Gortat, who Porter used for the curl, is much bigger and stronger. And Jason Smith is known to legally (and sometimes illegally) put smaller players on the floor.