This is not the time (Bill Sy): I get it. The Celtics gave this game away. After building a 13-point cushion in the third quarter, Boston allowed an insane amount of points to close out the game:
They were burned by a fire-throwing Jamal Crawford and what hurt the most was that that lead evaporated with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin on the bench. After the game, Thomas had this to say about the substitution patterns:
Thomas seemed irked by lineups but likely understands team was down 2 rotation guys. Frustration more a product of 2 wins getting away. pic.twitter.com/SxgKGMz8K8— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) March 7, 2017
More IT: "For the most part I try to let him coach. He’s a very smart dude and he does a good job of the substitution patterns."— Jay King (@ByJayKing) March 7, 2017
Thomas is pissed. I was, too. We all were watching Boston cough up another 2nd half lead on national television. It’s possible that the lineup change that Thomas is talking about was the trio of Smart-Rozier-Young that in effect replaced Thomas-Brown-Bradley late in the third quarter. For the night, that trio played over nine minutes together and hemorrhaged a -13. It could have been Jordan Mickey’s 2:33 of play where he was a -14.
That combination of players has played 57 minutes together all season and for what it’s worth, they’re a net zero. But the stats don’t really matter here. What’s important is Thomas’ frustration boiling over into this passive aggressive commentary that will get bounced back to Stevens and the assistant coaches.
They’ll probably have a talk about it tonight on the bus and it’ll get smoothed over before a small crack gets bigger, but it shouldn’t get to this. The beauty in how the Celtics play is that everybody on the roster can contribute at any time. That’s not an “experiment.” That’s a mindset that was installed before Thomas even came to Boston.
This was a game that the Celtics, despite being shorthanded, should have won, but I don’t think he should be questioning Brad Stevens’ decisions, especially with the team trying to peak heading toward the playoffs.