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Are the Celtics better without Isaiah Thomas?

After getting creamed twice at home with a less-than-100% Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics took Game 3 in Cleveland.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Two Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Let's put this one to rest right now. The Celtics aren't "better without Isaiah Thomas," right?

Keith Smith: No. The defense is better, but the offense is worse than the defense is better, if that makes sense. Marcus Smart played the game of his life in Game 3, including hitting seven triples. To expect to ever see that again is a stretch. And the team had to execute at an extremely high level, including hitting shot after shot down the stretch. They need a guy who can create something on his own vs. hoping Stevens can do it for them.

Lachlan Marr: Every time the Celtics manage to get a win without their on-court leader this seems to pop up as a question. It’s pretty simple to answer: No, the Celtics are not better without Isaiah Thomas. Without Isaiah the Celtics wouldn’t be the first seed, they might not even be in the playoffs and they almost certainly wouldn’t have battled all the way through to the Conference Finals, so in a way the team kind of owed IT the win.

As Keith mentioned it took the rest of the roster firing on all cylinders and Marcus Smart having an almost statistically impossible shooting night for the Celtics to scrape by with the win, plus that last shot from Avery Bradley was probably the friendliest bounce I’ve ever seen on a long ball. It would seem the Basketball gods were smiling on these Celtics in Game 3 honouring their efforts.

But there’s more to it than hokey basketball superstition. Without the Celtics’ leading scorer to hone in on Cleveland were discombobulated on defense. Having schemed and scouted a team that utilised Isaiah as their key offensive weapon the Cavs now faced a wholly different beast. Usually you only really get to employ the element of surprise once, so it will be interesting to see how this group fares in Games 4 and 5.

Alex Kungu: This is a complicated question. The Celtics would not have accomplished all they have this season with this roster as presently constructed without Isaiah Thomas. But we know that this isn’t a team that plans on staying the same and will most likely be going through a makeover as they transition there assets to tangible players. The biggest strength Thomas gives the Celtics is the ability to put up buckets in a hurry. If Boston was to somehow land Gordon Hayward, and Markelle Fultz looks as good as advertised, then that offensive advantage Thomas gives would be diminished. If that’s diminished, then his defensive struggles go under even more of a microscope and they become less tolerable when you have players who though may not be as prolific scoring the basketball, can do it well enough without being a liability on the defensive end. So yeah, this Celtics team isn’t better without Isaiah Thomas, but what does that really mean?

Poll

Are the Celtics better without Isaiah Thomas?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Yes
    (285 votes)
  • 45%
    No
    (771 votes)
  • 37%
    It’s complicated.
    (623 votes)
1679 votes total Vote Now

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