The Celtics get out to a big first half lead but go cold in the third quarter as they lose to the Raptors Friday night at TD Garden. Mike Petraglia has your story inside TD Garden.

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WEEI

It was clear in Friday night’s 101-94 loss to the Raptors that this Celtics team needs Isaiah Thomas.

Dec 9, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) shoots against the Boston Celtics in the first quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

DeMar DeRozan (10) shoots against the Celtics in the first quarter at TD Garden. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

It was clear in Friday night’s 101-94 loss to the Raptors that this Celtics team needs Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas was on the bench with a groin injury and watched his team lose a tough one at the Garden.  

The Celtics bench did look strong in the first half, scoring 21 points with a consistent shot distribution.

The team as a whole looked confident in this win. Al Horford also had a strong game, as he and Avery Bradley both led the team in scoring with 19 points. 

The Celtics led 50-42 at halftime before losing the lead late in the third quarter. The Raptors pulled ahead to lead 75-68 at the end of the quarter and outscored the Celtics 33-18. 

Boston fell apart and had trouble driving to the hoop in the second half, missing 13 of 18 shots in the third quarter. They made nine of those shots from beyond the arc and only sunk three of them. 

“It was hard for us to break their wall of defense,” coach Brad Stevens said after the game of the Raptors in the third quarter. “They were pushing into us, they were very, very athletic at a number of positions and they ratcheted it up. And it was hard for us to handle that pressure. And when we drove they collapsed and used their athleticism to affect us in the paint. They were very good. Their defense was fantastic in the third quarter.” 

For the full box score, click here.

The Raptors sat starting forward DeMarre Carroll to rest his knee so he wouldn’t play in back-to-back games. Norman Powell started in Carroll’s place and scored 20 points. The Raptors had three players score 20 or more points, as Kyle Lowry led the team with 34 while DeMar DeRozan scored 24. 

Stud of the night: The Celtics bench

The bench carried the first half for the Celtics, scoring a total of 32 points in the game with 21 in the first half. Terry Rozier alone scored 12 of those points and had three rebounds and three assists. 

Dud of the night: The third quarter

The third quarter flat-out stunk for the Celtics. This was where they lost all their steam and let the game slip away. They missed more than half of their shots and made only two their shots in the paint. 

When the game was lost: Also the third quarter

The Celtics cooled off considerably in the third quarter and never started their engines up again for the rest of the second half. 

JBL_CMYK_NoHarmanNoRBallWEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

Blog Author: 
Lucy Burdge

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In the wake of his epic 61-39 win in NBA2K17 over a group of four lucky kids Friday night, Isaiah Thomas appeared to be in a good mood. 

Then the conversation turned to his sore groin. 

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Isaiah Thomas plays a group of four kids in NBA2K before Friday’s game against the Raptors. Thomas missed his 2nd straight game with a sore groin. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

In the wake of his epic 61-39 NBA2K win over a group of four lucky kids Friday night, Isaiah Thomas appeared to be in a good mood. 

Then the conversation turned to his sore groin. 

“I’m not that good because I can’t play,” Thomas said. “It’s getting better. It hasn’t gotten worse and I’m just work as hard as I can to get back on the court.”

Thomas said he wasn’t sure about his status for the upcoming two-game swing through Oklahoma City (Sunday) and San Antonio (Wednesday). 

“I want to play but they keep telling me no,” Thomas said later in the locker room. 

Brad Stevens said before the game that Thomas’ injury, one suffered Monday night in Houston, was one that the team expects to sideline Thomas 7-10 days. Thomas is trying to be more optimistic.

“I’m going to take it day-by-day. Hopefully, I can play in the next few games and we’ll see what happens,” Thomas said. “Today, I feel a lot better than I have since I gotten the injury so we’ll see maybe in next couple of days. I’m shooting for Wednesday.”

The groin didn’t keep Thomas from laying a 61-39 beat down on the four kids who won the Shamrock Foundation raffle to play Thomas on the video board at the Garden before the game.

“That’s just how it is,” Thomas said. “If it was the other way around, they wouldn’t show no mercy.

“It’s just about having fun, like I always said, putting a smile on other people’s faces and doing what’s right. It’s cool to play video games with kids. I wish I were in their shoes, being able to play video games with a professional athlete. It’s always fun. I do that at home with my kids.”

Thomas hinted that he has slightly different rules for NBA2K with his own kids at home.

“I’ve got to let my kids [win] because they start crying and getting mad,” Thomas said. “Some days, if I’ve got the wrong attitude, I won’t show them no mercy.”

Thomas chose the Mavs and was pumped up on several dunks, including one by Harrison Barnes. Why the Mavs?

“They’re a pretty good team on the video game,” Thomas said. The Mavs, ironically are an NBA-worst 4-17 this season. 

 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Celtics are being very cautious with the sore groin of Isaiah Thomas. 

Isaiah Thomas dives on the floor for a loose ball during Wednesday's win over the Nets. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Isaiah Thomas has again been playing all-out this season for the Celtics. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics are being very cautious with the sore groin of Isaiah Thomas. 

The star point guard will likely miss his second straight game with the injury suffered Monday night in Houston after receiving a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection on Wednesday. The 13-9 Celtics take on Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Friday night at TD Garden and stand just 1.5 games back of them for the No. 2 seed in the East. 

“It’s just day to day. He is a warrior. He loves to play,” Ainge said of Thomas. “He’ll be back faster than most players would be back after an injury. But at the same time we really have to be careful with Isaiah for the long haul and make sure that he doesn’t come back and re-injure it. So I’m not sure about the answer.

“I don’t know if he’ll play Friday. Probably not. We’ll just try to get him as much rest as we can and get him back on the court when he’s ready.”

Head coach Brad Stevens told reporters before Wednesday’s game that the team will be cautious with its All-Star point guard due to the nature of the injury. 

The Celtics didn’t need Thomas Wednesday night as they blew out Orlando, 117-87, outscoring the Magic, 68-37, in the second half. 

Thomas is again leading the Celtics in scoring this year, averaging 26 points and 6.2 assists in 21 games. Wednesday’s game was the first Thomas missed this season. 

JBL_CMYK_NoHarmanNoRBallWEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

With Isaiah Thomas back in Boston receiving treatment on his strained groin, the question for the Celtics was who would replace the production of their leading scorer Wednesday night. The answer: everyone.

Al Horford drives on Evan Fournier during Wednesday's game. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Al Horford drives on Evan Fournier during Wednesday’s game. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

With Isaiah Thomas back in Boston receiving treatment on his strained groin, the question for the Celtics was who would replace the production of their leading scorer Wednesday night. The answer: everyone.

Seven Celtics scored in double figures (and Kelly Olynyk was one point short of being the eighth) as the C’s dominated the Magic in the second half en route to an impressive 117-87 victory.

Avery Bradley led the offensive onslaught with 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting and 6-of-7 free throws. Terry Rozier came off the bench to pour in 16 points, Jae Crowder had 15 points and 10 rebounds, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Amir Johnson each netted 13, and Al Horford amassed 10 points, eight assists and six boards (and was a plus-31).

And before you dismiss the Magic, consider that Orlando was coming off a road trip in which it won four out of five, including an eye-catching win over the Spurs.

The C’s outscored Orlando 68-37 in the second half. They opened the second half on a 10-2 run, playing fierce defense and unselfish offense. On one sequence Bradley hounded Evan Fournier and eventually blocked his runner out of bounds. The C’s continued to pour it on at both ends and pushed their newfound lead up to 18 points at 78-60 late in the period after a three-point play by Brown. At that point the C’s had hit 11 of their 13 shots in the period, and assists were credited on 10 of the 11 baskets.

The Celtics trailed by a point at the half, 50-49, despite shooting just 2-for-15 from behind the arc. They made up for that by hitting 16-of-27 from inside the arc. Meanwhile, Orlando hit 8-of-10 treys — led by D.J. Augustin’s 4-for-4 — but shot just 10-for-26 inside the arc.

Smart was given the start in Thomas’ place. He started inauspiciously, by getting faked out and fouling Augustin while the Magic guard was shooting a 3-pointer with a tenth of a second left on the shot clock during Orlando’s opening possession. He then swished a jumper as the shot clock was running down on Boston’s first foray over halfcourt.

Meanwhile, Johnson returned to the starting lineup after a four-minute stint off the bench in Monday’s loss to the Rockets.

Stud of the night: Avery Bradley

Bradley was the spark for the Celtics during their third-quarter run and throughout. He not only hit from outside, he got to the line — which has been a concern for this team — and hit 6-of-7.

Dud of the night: Serge Ibaka

Orlando’s big man came up small against the C’s, hitting just 3-of-10 shots and finishing at minus-22, worst on the night.

When the game was won: The third quarter

For the first 9 1/2 minutes of the period Boston was dominant on both ends of the floor, outscoring Orlando 29-10. The Magic managed to score 13 points in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the period, but it still goes down as a very impressive quarter for the C’s.

JBL_CMYK_NoHarmanNoRBallWEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of ‘The Dale and Holley Show’ talk about last night’s disappointing finish against the Rockets and they talk about their love for DeMarcus Cousins.

JBL_CMYK_NoHarmanNoRBallWEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

Blog Author: 
WEEI