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Post by 112288 on Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:03 pm

Isaiah Thomas once again leads Celtics, but Jaylen Brown intrigues in win over Hornets, too

WEEI

By John Tomase

Al Horford salutes teammates during a win over the Hornets on Monday. (Bob De Chiara/USA Today Sports)

Al Horford salutes teammates during a win over the Hornets on Monday. (Bob De Chiara/USA Today Sports)

Isaiah Thomas once again reminded us what time it is, but after watching the Celtics beat the Hornets on Monday night, I’m fascinated by Jaylen Brown.

The rookie didn’t do much down the stretch of the 108-98 victory — he was at least on the floor for much of the fourth quarter when Thomas delivered his nightly explosion — but we’re starting to get a clearer picture of his skill set.

Brown scored seven points in the first half by highlighting his explosive athleticism. He went coast-to-coast for a basket right before the half, he made an acrobatic layup inside while heavily defended, and he led another break that ended with a tough hoop inside after he laid the ball down to Jonas Jerebko and then got it back.

Brown almost completely lacks any semblance of an outside game, which is ultimately going to decide what kind of an impact he’ll make as a pro. He’s also got that lost-in-headlights look at times, too. But considering that he’s only 20 years old and is basically taking a red-shirt rookie season, the skills he’s exhibiting suggest an intriguing future.

“Jaylen Brown played one of his best games of the season,” head coach Brad Stevens told Comcast’s Abby Chin on the postgame show.

What is he? Your guess is as good as mine. As athletic as he may be, it’s also worth noting that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist cleanly turned him away at the rim on a two-handed dunk attempt in the fourth quarter. He’s not such a high-flyer that he can just throw down on anyone.

Brown had a great view while Thomas went off during another monster fourth quarter, where he scored 17 of his game-high 35. Thomas did it everywhere except from the free throw line, becoming the first Celtic since Larry Bird in 1984 to score at least 35 points without a free throw.

Thomas’s best basket may have been a corner jumper over Hornets big man Cody Zeller that started with a reverse dribble into an up-fake that got the 7-footer off his feet before Thomas calmly drilled the shot in his face.

“Isaiah doesn’t even come up to his lettahs!” broadcaster Tommy Heinsohn yelled.

Al Horford scored 22, and Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder added 15 points apiece as the Celtics (26-15) hit the official halfway point of the season with 13 wins in their last 16 games.
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Thomas shines again in fourth quarter, Celtics beat Hornets, 108-98

CSNNE

By A. Sherrod Blakely January 16, 2017 9:44 PM

BOSTON –  Late in the fourth quarter, the TD Garden was rockin' when the fans charted chanting, 'M-V-P, M-V-P' which is become a nightly serenade of sorts for Isaiah Thomas.

It's extremely wishful thinking on Celtics Nation's part, but there is no denying his status as one of the game's best players this season.

He delivered yet another work of art on Monday, scoring 17 of his game-high 35 points in the fourth quarter in leading Boston to a 108-98 win against Charlotte.

And he did the way he always seems to do it, mixing in 3-pointers with drives to the baskets and an occasional assist to keep the collapsing defenses that surround him relatively honest.

But the numbers he's consistently posting only tell part of the narrative to what has been a fairy tale of a season for the 5-foot-9 guard who continues to defy odds on a nightly basis.

Not only is he producing at a high level, but he's elevating the play of those around him which is reflected in the team's overall success.

Boston (26-15) hits the halfway point with its best record under fourth-year coach Brad Stevens and best by the franchise since a 32-9 start to the 2010-2011 season.

The Celtics have now won eight of their last 10 games, and 13 of 16 as they steadily pull away and establish themselves at worst being the third-best team in the East.

And against the Hornets, they got the victory with a nice blending of what they do best – shoot three-pointers and play solid, physical defense.

The game could not have gotten off to a better start for the Boston Celtics, opening with a 10-2 run that put the Hornets on their heels quickly.

Not surprisingly, the Hornets rallied to take the lead in the first quarter before Boston’s second unit stepped up.

Leading the way in the final minute of the first quarter was Jaylen Brown, just minutes removed from a moving pre-game speech honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on MLK Day.

With Boston trailing 30-29, Brown scored the final five points of the quarter to give Boston a 34-30 lead.

The second quarter saw both teams pull ahead by slim margins, neither showing an ability to pull away and take full control of the game.

But again it was the Celtics making all the necessary plays at both ends of the floor in the closing moments.

Trailing 50-48, Boston would close out the half with an 11-3 run to lead 59-53 at the half.

In the third quarter, Boston began to give itself a little more breathing room fueled in large part by their defense which not only limited the Hornets scoring but took advantage of great spacing to get open jumpers or baskets in the paint with little resistance or help-side defense.

A back-to-the-basket hook shot by Al Horford gave Boston a 77-67 lead, the game’s first double-digit margin.

The Celtics increased their lead to 12 points following a pull-up jumper along the baseline by Avery Bradley who was back in the lineup after missing the previous four games with an Achilles injury.

Going into the fourth, the Celtics were ahead 80-71.
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Thomas' big 4th quarter carries Celtics past Hornets 108-98

ESPNBOSTON

BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas scored 17 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, and the surging Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Hornets 108-98 on Monday night for their ninth victory in 11games.

It was Thomas' 25th straight game with 20 or more points. He's been putting up big final quarters of late -- scoring 20 or more three times this season. No other NBA player had done it more than once entering Monday.

Al Horford had 22 points, while Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder added 15 apiece for Boston, which has won all three meetings with Charlotte this season.

Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Marvin Williams had 21 for the Hornets, who lost their fifth straight -- all on the road.

Thomas scored 13 straight points, pushing Boston ahead 93-83 with his 3-pointer from the left wing with 7 1/2 minutes left.

Boston led 80-71 entering the final period.

TIP-INS

Hornets: Entered averaging the second-fewest turnovers in the league at 12.1 per game. They had 11.

Celtics: G Avery Bradley returned after missing four straight games because of a strained right Achilles. He scored five points on 2-of -9 shooting. ... Thomas scored a team-record 29 points in the final quarter of a victory against Miami on Dec. 30 to finish with 52.

INSPIRING WORDS

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown addressed the crowd before the game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Without notes, he quoted King in saying: "The day our lives begin to end, the day we become silent about things that matter."

NICE CATCH

New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount sat courtside behind a basket and made a two-handed grab of a ball flying out of bounds.

SPORTS TRANSITION

It was the nightcap of a hockey/basketball doubleheader, and 6-foot-4 Celtics guard Marcus Smart entered TD Garden wearing a winter jacket and hat. He paused and stood seemingly unnoticed as a group of youngsters and parents -- most wearing Boston Bruins colors -- walked down a hall to meet some of the hockey players.

Smart smiled when a media member said, "I don't think anyone noticed you."

Later, 6-foot-9 Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara headed past folks walking in for the basketball game.

UP NEXT

Hornets: Host the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night in the first of five straight at home.

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Post by bobheckler on Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:03 am

It was the Marvin Williams and Kemba Walker show for them, with Cody Zeller chipping in 13.  We had 4 players in double figures, all with more than 13.

Whatever Kelly is eating for a pre-game snack Danny should buy it by the 18-wheeler, 40' container load and keep it stocked in the locker room and taken with the team on the road.  Not only is his outside shot looking smooth but he is posting players up regularly.  Usually he posts up smaller players, when he can get the mismatch, but last night he posted up 6'9", 235# Marvin Williams.  I know that he is 3" taller but a 235# player like Williams is hard to muscle, but Kelly was posting him up at the front of the rim.  Game high rebounder, either team?  Kelly Olynyk, with 9.  That's two games in a row for Kelly.  One or two more in a row like this (2 out of the next 3?) and we might have to re-assess where he is in his development.  I've always said the weakest part of Kelly's game is his confidence.  If he has finally become comfortable...

iT with 35 points, 17 in the 4th quarter.  Hardly worth mentioning anymore.  How jaded we have become.  There are 50 players, besides IT, that are averaging 17ppg or better this year.  That's what he did in a single quarter last night.  King of the Fourth.

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Great defense by Smart, only 5 fgas.  The 4 he missed were horrible shots, really poor shot discipline, but I'll take 1-5 from him for the rest of his game.  One great play by him:  he tips the ball away from a Hornet and it is dribbling by itself towards the sideline.  Smart and the Hornet are on the floor.  Smart gets onto his knees and throws himself at the ball and is able to slap it down court, without gaining control, to a streaking Jaylen Brown and a layup.  Nobody can doubt Mahcus Smaht's ganas, and his point guard skills are coming along nicely too, it's only his shooting that irks me.




Bradley misses 4 games, call it a week, and his shot disappears.  I would not have thought he'd get that rusty in just a week, but he did.  I'm not worried, I know he isn't a 2-9, 1-6 from 3 shooter but that's what he was last night.  If you're going to work some rust off it's best to do it in a win.

Jae Crowder with fantastic hustle on both ends of the court all night.  A 15 and 7 night but that doesn't cover the effort.

We beat the Hornets in Charlotte without Walker.  Now we beat them by 10 with Walker (who is a potential "next Isaiah Thomas").  They are in a serious slump, but dangerous.

The useless Knicks lost to Atlanta in NY.  Great job, Phil, you've worked magic these past few years.  There are 2 games in the loss column separating each of the top 5 teams in the east (Cleveland is up 2 on Toronto, Toronto is up 2 on us, etc).  41 games in, exactly halfway.  26 wins = 52 wins at the end HOWEVER, we missed 8-9 games in the beginning when Jae and Al were down.  If we can stay healthy the rest of the way we should get more than 52.

http://www.espn.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=400900039











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