Three Point Record (Bobby Manning): The Celtics are an absurd 53-103 from beyond the arc over the last three games, 51%. I've never seen anything like it, and tonight Boston hit a Celtics-record 19 three-pointers. Prioritizing shooting across the board is starting to become something special for this team, and it has made them one of the best offenses in basketball. They are seventh in three-point efficiency and are now sneaking up on Portland at 106.5 to gain a top-seven spot in points per game. I Would rather see their success coming on the defensive end, but this team has reached a historic offensive stride into January. This performance is definitely something to admire, and Marcus Smart again played no small role in the effort. He continues to get to the rim and effectively distribute the ball back to the perimeter. He's now up with Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas among Cs players averaging over two assists for every turnover. The distribution on this team is great.
Isaiah Thomas contained (Bill Sy): It scares me how much Robert Covington bothered Isaiah Thomas tonight. After hitting career highs in points and assists in the last two games, IT tied his highest turnover total in a game with seven against the Sixers. Thomas had abused T.J. McConnell in the past, so Covington switched onto him early in the first quarter, and Thomas didn’t look the same. With Joel Embiid patrolling the paint, Covington’s lateral movement, length and size limited Thomas’s ability to create space and turn the corner.
Brad Stevens countered with Marcus Smart (eight assists) playing 30 minutes at the point and running Thomas off the ball. Boston eked out a win against the lowly Sixers on Friday night, but in the playoffs, what if Thomas has to go up against the likes of LeBron James, DeMarre Carroll, or Nic Batum? Sure, he’ll be able to use his speed and shotmaking, but he’s become such a big part of the offense that shutting him down has proven to be an effective strategy in two first-round exits.