In a series that has confounded playoff wisdom, with each side playing its best basketball in the other’s building, the Celtics finally pulled out the most important game of the series at home.The C’s beat Chicago in Game 5 of their first round series Wednesday night, 108-97, to take a 3-2 lead, with the chance of advancing to the second round with a win in Game 6 Friday night in Chicago.
It’s novel, the idea of someone questioning Marcus Smart’s toughness.The Celtics guard certainly never heard something like it before when, after his brief nose-to-nose chat with Jimmy Butler in Game 4, the Bulls forward later said, “He is a great actor, acting tough. That is what he does. But I don’t think he’s about that.”“Never,” Smart said after today’s practice when asked whether anyone has gone there with him before.Asked about his reaction, Smart looked towards the nearest camera, raised his voice, and said, “Ha ha.”
A couple of weeks ago, as the Celtics were getting ready to wrap up the regular season, Brad Stevens noticed something different in Gerald Green.The Celtics were practicing in two separate six-man groups, and the veteran swingman stood out.“I thought Gerald was as locked in and as good that day as I had seen him,” Stevens said.
Brad Stevens and Fred Hoiberg go way back. Both are former college coaches who made the jump to the NBA, the two have held a long relationship.So when it comes to what Hoiberg said about Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas after Sunday night's Game 4, Stevens respects the Bulls coach's opinion and moves on. There's no ill will or feud brewing here.
CHICAGO — There has been an Isaiah Thomas watch for the week since his sister’s death, with every bit of body language, every grimace and every smile dissected.But there was no disputing the return of Thomas’ unique ability to dominate a game Sunday night, with the result a 104-95 Celtics win over Chicago, evening their first round series at 2-2. The home team has yet to win a game in this series.
CHICAGO -- The Bulls considered changing their lineup, but they will go with the same starting five as the Celtics trying to even the series against them in Game 4 tonight. That means second-year guard Jerian Grant will again take the place of Rajon Rondo, who is out with a fractured right thumb. He had six points and four turnovers in the Celts' 104-87 Game 3 win.
CHICAGO -- The Celtics, to hear Marcus Smart say it, only have each other on the road.That bunker mentality served them well Friday night, too, giving the Celtics gasp of air with their 104-87 win over Chicago in Game 3 of their first round playoff series. They cut the Bulls' series lead to 2-1.Isaiah Thomas, again blitzed to distraction, traded in some of his scoring for more playmaking with a 16-point, nine-assist performance that was aided by a 17-for-36 3-point shooting performance.
CHICAGO -- Brad Stevens summoned his inner gambler by deciding tonight in Game 3 to start Gerald Green in place of the struggling Amir Johnson.The Celtics coach thus replaced a rebounder who hasn’t produced with a wing scorer, despite the fact the Celtics have been hurt so badly on the glass this season.But Green, who last started a game for the Miami Heat last season, promised he would “stay in character” in his role. He also has a history of playing with Isaiah Thomas, dating back to their shared time with the Phoenix Suns.
CHICAGO -- Tom Brady, who led the Patriots to the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history last February, wants to spread that magic to his basketball brothers.The Patriots quarterback reached out to the Celtics via Instagram today, posting, along with a photo of Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley embracing at mid-court, the following message:“It's how you come back... Good luck tonight. We all have your back! #YourTurn”
Bulls guard Rajon Rondo has a fractured right thumb that will keep him out of tonight’s playoff game against the Celtics.The Bulls said Rondo is out indefinitely, though surgery is not required.Rondo has been a spark plug for the Bulls thus far in the first-round series, when Chicago won took a 2-0 lead by winning both games in Boston.Game 3 is set for tonight in Chicago.
After making an obscene gesture toward fans during Tuesday’s loss to Chicago, Marcus Smart is $25,000 poorer.The NBA fined the Celtics guard that amount on Wednesday, scolding him for engaging negatively with fans during the fourth quarter of the loss that put Boston in an 0-2 series hole to the Bulls.Earlier in the day, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he was allowing the NBA to work out the issue.“If he made a gesture that's unacceptable,” Stevens said of Smart.
Isaiah Thomas, who left for Tacoma this morning to finally be with his family following the death of his younger sister, Chyna, released a statement today – his first public words since her death in a car crash last Saturday.Here’s the transcript:
The list of missing is long on this team now that they’re in the playoffs, and the most unapparent of all play up front.Al Horford, perhaps with the worst playoff series of his career, was joined by Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk Tuesday night in the Celtics’ continued inability to handle their eighth-seeded opponent, Chicago, in the paint.The result was a 111-97 Game 2 loss to the Bulls, knocking the Celtics into an 0-2 first-round hole.
Though funeral and service arrangements for Chyna Thomas remained incomplete as of Tuesday night, Isaiah Thomas has decided on a travel plan. The Celtics guard will leave Wednesday morning for Seattle/Tacoma, and rejoin the team for Friday’s Game 3 in Chicago.
Isaiah Thomas intends to play in Game 2 against Chicago tomorrow night, and then fly to Seattle for a memorial service honoring his late sister, Chyna, who died in a car crash early Saturday morning.Though it’s possible that several members of the team, including good friend and fellow Tacoma native Avery Bradley, will also be on hand for the service,Brad Stevens said the team will take its cue from Thomas. Funeral and service plans remain incomplete.