It looks like the Boston Celtics have shaken off the post-break rust that plagued them Friday night in Utah.
Following a game where they couldn't throw the ball in the ocean, Boston exploded for 35 first-quarter points to race out to a double-digit lead that they would keep for the majority of the contest. They would finish the night shooting a solid 48.5 percent from the floor, which seems miles ahead of where they looked in their first game coming out of the All-Star break.
Isaiah Thomas flirted with a double-double in the first half, focusing primarily on his role as a distributor on his way to tallying 10 assists before the intermission. In the second half we saw his scoring come alive, leading to his game-high 22 points.
The Celtics also got a strong all-around game from Evan Turner, who finished with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. He was also involved in the play of the game when he chased down a loose ball that was batted up court by a diving Marcus Smart. Unable to slow his momentum in time to gain possession before speeding out of bounds, Turner made the wise decision to tip the ball behind him to the trailing Avery Bradley, who deserves much of the credit for hustling after the play.
C's showing incredible hustle and determination! Check it out: pic.twitter.com/325UftYKaS— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 22, 2016
Speaking of Bradley, he was questionable this afternoon with a sore knee but decided to give it a go after getting some shots up before the game. Good thing, considering he contributed 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting, while turning in his usual great defense.
Boston's defense has struggled of late, allowing 110+ points in four straight entering the game. It took the Nuggets until their final possession to crack the 100 point barrier tonight, which shows solid improvement from the Celtics given the fast-paced nature of the game. Boston forced 24 turnovers, scoring 29 points off of those turnovers.
Boston has now won 11 of their last 14 games to hang on to their spot as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.