Isaiah Thomas rips Celtics players, coaches for giving up in loss to Warriors

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Isaiah Thomas rips Celtics players, coaches for giving up in loss to Warriors Empty Isaiah Thomas rips Celtics players, coaches for giving up in loss to Warriors

Post by gyso on Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:48 pm

BOSTON — As a large media contingent filled the hallway around Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who scored 28 points in a 104-88 victory against the Celtics that was far worse than the final score, a few reporters made their way into the losing locker room, where Isaiah Thomas was holding court.

With Thomas as the face of the franchise, Boston has steadily improved each year, enough to earn preseason predictions as the Eastern Conference’s second-best team. But injuries to two of their top players — Al Horford and Jae Crowder — have forced Thomas to carry a heavy load on his diminutive frame, and the result has been a disappointing 6-6 start made worse by a loss to the Warriors.

A number of Celtics have been critical of the team’s effort in the early going, including soft-spoken coach Brad Stevens, but nothing like what Thomas unleashed to the few folks gathered around him.

“We gave up,” said Thomas. “The coaching staff as well. We started subbing. It was bad, especially how I only played 27 minutes. We gave up.”

The answer came in response to a question about Warriors center Zaza Pachulia’s celebratory shimmy on a wide-open jumper that capped a 24-3 run and gave Golden State a 79-51 lead in the third quarter. Thompson described Pachulia’s dance as “terrible, but he deserved it,” and Thomas didn’t disagree.

Stevens had a quick trigger all night, calling timeouts to stop the bleeding against a Warriors team that can make things ugly in a hurry, and he made his first sub of the second half — Jonas Jerebko for Amir Johnson — just 2:44 into the third quarter, when Golden State had already doubled its halftime lead to 12. As the edge grew to 17, Stevens pulled Kelly Olynyk for Jordan Mickey, and when it got to 24, he swapped Terry Rozier and Gerald Green in for Avery Bradley and Jerebko. The deficit got as bad as 28 before Stevens subbed rookie Jaylen Brown for Thomas with 4:52 remaining in the third. Thomas didn’t return until for another 11:44, returning for the final five minutes of a meaningless game.

“I’m not saying that’s the reason we lost,” said Thomas, who finished with 18 points on 4-of-12 shooting. “We couldn’t get stops, and they kept pouring it on. We didn’t play well on the offensive end the whole quarter. That’s the reason. I’m not saying the reason we lost was because of subs, but we went into panic mode for whatever reason, and that’s what happened. I’m upset with that.”

Thomas ended a string of 11 straight games with 20 or more points to start the season, including a 37-point effort in a one-point loss to a New Orleans Pelicans team that entered the game with one win.

“The best players have the shortest memory, whether good or bad, so once you go to sleep and wake up tomorrow, you forget about this loss, but I believe we gave up,” Thomas said when asked if the Celtics’ issues called for a team meeting. “For whatever reason, they hit us, and we didn’t hit back.”

Perhaps Stevens saw the game slipping and opted to save his bullets for the second night of a back-to-back, considering the Celtics have to regroup against the Pistons in Detroit on Saturday night.

“It went from a two- or three-point lead to a seven-point lead and then that continued in the early part of the third quarter, and it was too much to overcome,” said Stevens. “Hey, they’re really good, and we all know that. But you can’t have droughts. You just can’t have droughts against them.”

But Thomas wasn’t having that. “Maybe,” said the All-Star point guard, “but we panicked too fast. Any game is winnable. As fast as they can get up, the faster you can come back. We have a game tomorrow, we’ve got to turn the page, but we’ve got to be more consistent as players and as coaches.”

The good news for the Celtics is that both Horford (concussion) and Crowder (ankle) appear close to returning. Both players could travel with the team to Detroit and be in uniform against the Pistons.

Then again, Thomas wasn’t having any of that, either.

“We know we have two of our key players out,” said Thomas, “and that’s no excuse.”

Horford and Crowder should solve some of Boston’s defensive woes, but there are still real questions about how the Celtics will clean up their rebounding issues. And with Thomas calling out the team and its coaching staff for quitting in a mid-November game, those may not be their only problems.

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