Their confidence was back. In front of their home crowd for the first time in 15 days the Celtics were pushing to energize the fans with the style they left them with in the Clippers win, a gritty hustle that can persevere through any rough patches.
Isaiah Thomas had the answer. As the Bucks cut another double-digit Boston lead into the final minutes of the fourth and the latter's offense slugged along, Thomas and Jae Crowder came walking off the bench like a scene reminiscent of the 2014-15 season.
Back when Thomas was the C's sixth-man and Crowder joined him with the second unit, they would bust down the wall whenever the starters ran into one. Boston was headed full speed into towards it again with the lead dwindling, but they were able to avert disaster with what might have been the pass of this entire season.
Thomas was driving to the rim to his left running right into the contesting arms of Greg Monroe and Michael Carter-Williams, knowing he had a bailout option even though he couldn't see it, he tossed the ball around his back without looking to Crowder in the deep right corner on point.
Nobody expected it. But when all was said and done Jae had splashed the three and the C's were on their way to, up seven, to their ninth straight home win. The way he broke it down afterwards painted a vivid picture of his confidence at this point in the season:
I seen him before I threw it but when I threw it couldn't see him no more. So I'm glad he stayed in that corner and made me look good...before I picked the ball up I seen he was in the corner, so I knew that was going to be my bailout pass.
From their start in Boston, Thomas and Crowder formed a deep bond coming off Boston's bench as mid-year trade arrivals. Now, in their first full seasons here, they have all the confidence in the world playing together as starters. Thursday night it came full circle with them arriving in the heat of the moment to save the game.
Here's the play in all its glory:
Yeah, this happened: pic.twitter.com/AWSmVZTU5X— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 26, 2016