Winning plays (Bill Sy): Marcus Smart had himself a night with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals, but it was his ability to affect the game late in the fourth quarter that made the biggest difference. With the Celtics up 2 with 2:17 left in the game, Smart was everywhere:
Isaiah on Marcus Smart: "When you want to be a championship team, you have to have guys like that on the team."— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) February 10, 2017
He sealed the win with a big steal, a huge offensive rebound, and a gutsy charge on Damian Lillard. He recently ranked #33 in ESPN’s Top 50 players under 25. He’s not a high flyer, and he’s not particularly quick. He’s built more like a middle linebacker or running back rather than a point guard. Fantasy players and box score scanners will point to his low shooting percentages and humble scoring output and undervalue his importance to the team, but the guy just makes winning plays.
Lefty (Bill Sy): They say that if you’re left handed, you tend to be a little more creative. At 5’9, lefty Isaiah Thomas has not only figured out how to score despite his height, but he’s doing it at an MVP level. If he gets to his left hand, regardless of whether you’re a towering big or a wing trying to stay in front of him, he’s going to score.
Last night, Mr. 4th Quarter scored fifteen points in the clutch, seven of them coming from the line and four buckets scored at the rim.
That was just in the final frame. For the game, IT4 was 9 for 15 in the restricted area and finished with 34 points. I don’t want to take anything away from Thomas, but next weekend, he’ll be with Brad Stevens and the rest of the coaching staff representing the Celtics in the All-Star Game. With how Stevens has brought the best out of Thomas (and Turner before him and to some extent, Jordan Crawford before Turner), they’ll have a pretty good pitch to any potential free agents (Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap). Or maybe it’s just a lefty thing.
...and this happened (Bill Sy): I love NBA Twitter.