Apr 30, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) shoots over Washington Wizards forward Jason Smith (14) during the second half of the Boston Celtics 123-111 win over the Washington Wizards in game one of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas shoots over Washington Wizards forward Jason Smith (14) during the second half of the Boston Celtics 123-111 win over the Washington Wizards in game one of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics have gone where no other team has gone in NBA playoff history. 

Not even the Golden State Warriors of the last two NBA finals appearances have mastered the art of the 3-pointer the way these Celtics have. 

Good thing, too, because most teams down 16-0 and 20-3 the way these Celtics were Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semis against Washington would have zero chance of coming back. 

And most players who got in on a red-eye nine hours before Game 1 after attending his sister’s funeral would have absolutely no ability to play let alone scoring a game-high 33 points in leading his team back to a 123-111 win. 

“I got in at 4 a.m. I tried to get as much sleep as I could on the flight and then when I got home this morning,” Isaiah Thomas said of his cross-country flight from Seattle. “It’s tough, but it’s the playoffs so there are no excuses. I decided to play and I just tried to give it all for my team and we came out with the win.”

But these Celtics are all about making history as Avery Bradley reminded us after Game 5 against the Bulls. 

The Celtics in the first round set a new NBA playoff series record with 76 three pointers. They started slowly in the first two games against the Bulls but then started to warm up from beyond the arc. In Games 4 and 5, they were 19-of-77 combined. On Friday, they were 16-of-39. Then it really all clicked Sunday. They converted 19-of-39 from beyond the arc. 

Are the Celtics finally finding their level from beyond the arc?

“Hope not. Hope we still have some level to find,” Brad Stevens said. “But we dug ourselves a pretty big hole shooting it in the first round; we did not shoot it great, except for two games. But hey, we’re going to have to shoot the ball in to be a good team. I mean, I think that the ability to space the floor, to open up lanes for drives for Isaiah and others, and then Al (Horford)’s rolls I think is really important. So you’re not going to make nineteen every night, but we took a lot of good ones and we got good ones for each other.”

There’s only team with this kind of attack to win an NBA championship. The 2015 Golden State Warriors with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green connected on 240 three-pointers through 21 playoff games on their way to the title. Through seven playoff games, the Celtics have 95. Multiply that by three and the Celtics would shatter the Warriors figure with 285 threes.

Celtics fans watching with pure ecstasy Sunday their team dismantle the Wizards after the 0-16 start now know precisely what those Golden State Warriors fans felt like the last two seasons. So many experts said there was no way any team could keep this up in the playoffs. There’s no way in the NBA playoffs any team could take 39 threes and make nearly half of them. 

In the 29 minutes following the 16-0 hole to start the game, Boston scored an astounding 91 points. Think about that. 91 points in a playoff game over two and a half quarters. 

“They were a little more aggressive than we were,” Bradley Beal said. “Our defense slipped a little, we lacked some IQ and focus. We gave up a lot of threes, I think 19. We gotta do a better job at guarding the three and being on the same page defensively.”

 “Yeah, I mean, I thought we were in trouble, obviously, the way that that game started,” Stevens added. “But it’s a long game and you know you’re only a run away from being right back in it. You know, I just think that you just stay the course. We were sloppy right out of the gate for the first five minutes. We can’t expect to play that way and be good for the rest of the series. But played well the rest of the time.”

In some ways this Celtics team might be even tougher than the Golden State team that won it all two years against Cleveland.

Just what happened to Isaiah Thomas alone on the eve of the playoffs has taken an emotional toll on him and his teammates. Then to be so outplayed on their home court by an inferior Bulls team and drop the first two games of the playoffs.

The Celtics heard the doubters loud and clear, as Brad Stevens more than clear after the Game 6 in Chicago. Now, emboldened by their 3-point assault, they actually think they have a chance to overcome anything. The Wizards, the Raptors, the Cavaliers. It doesn’t matter. The Spurs or the Warriors, if they get that far, won’t scare the Celtics either. 

Isaiah Thomas was asked, after the first win of the series, if the team ever doubted its potential. 

“It has at some points this season, but we always continue to just keep going,” Thomas said. “We know its not always going to be peaches and cream all the time. We’ve always played with our backs against the wall. Today we definitely didn’t want to be down 16-0 but it happens and we just locked in even more. We settled down, we executed on offense and we got stops and that’s how we got back into the game.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Gordon Hayward (20) is proving that he's the real deal for the Jazz this postseason.</p>
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Isaiah Thomas returns from the funeral of his sister at 4 a.m., scores 33 while losing a tooth nine hours later. The Celtics overcome deficits of 16-0 and 20-3 and blast the Wizards, 123-111, in Game 1 of Eastern semis. What amazed you the most? Mike Petraglia and Josue Pavon break down the stunning Game 1 performance.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

One down, three more to go. 

The Celtics erased a 17-point first half deficit and topped the Wizards, 123-111 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Behind 33 points from grieving star Isaiah Thomas and another near triple-double from big man Al Horford, the Celtics overcame a 16-0 deficit and blitzed the Wizards at a raucous TD Garden.

Marcus Smart reacts after making a 3-pointer against the Wizards on Sunday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Marcus Smart reacts after making a 3-pointer against the Wizards on Sunday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

One down, three more to go. 

The Celtics erased a 17-point first half deficit and topped the Wizards, 123-111 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Behind 33 points from grieving star Isaiah Thomas and another near triple-double from big man Al Horford, the Celtics overcame a 16-0 deficit and blitzed the Wizards at a raucous TD Garden.

The Wizards wasted no time sucking the life out of the TD Garden with a 16-0 run to open the game en route to a 20-3 lead. It took nearly four minutes for the Celtics to score their first points — Thomas made three free throws to put his team on the board before having one of his front teeth knocked out. 

He finished the quarter with 12 of the Celtics’ 24 points while the Wizards tacked on 38. Kelly Olynyk was a spark off the bench with 10 points in the opening frame but it did little to extinguish Washington’s sizzling offense. 

However, the Celtics didn’t need much time to erase the deficit. They kicked off the second quarter with a 16-4 run, tying the game at 42 with 7:41 left in the first half and by halftime only trailed the Wizards by five (64-59).

Jae Crowder’s 3-pointer from the corner gave the Boston their first lead of the night — 73-71 — with 6:54 left in the third quarter, starting a 16-4 run and swung the momentum into the hands of the Celtics. Thomas poured in 31 points before the final frame and bounced back from his poor outside shooting in the first round by draining 5-of-9 from behind the arc. 

The Wizards scored only 16 points in the third quarter and faced a 15-point hole. 

From there it was a shootout. Rookie Jaylen Brown, who hasn’t seen meaningful minutes in four straight games, checked in with under six minutes left and made an immediate impact. He drained a corner 3-pointer on one possession and found Crowder (24 points, 6 3-pointers) behind the arc on the very next. Although Bradley Beal responded to both with a 3 of his own, Horford (21 points, 9 rebounds, 10 assists) made an open jumper, pushing the lead to 116-105. 

With under two minutes left, the Celtics converted turnovers into 3-pointers and easy layups and cruised victory.

On the afternoon, the Celtics made 19 of 39 3-pointers.

Blog Author: 
Josue Pavon

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas lost one of his front teeth while chasing Otto Porter around a screen in the first quarter of Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal on Sunday at TD Garden.

Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas lost one of his front teeth while chasing Otto Porter around a screen in the first quarter of Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal on Sunday at TD Garden.

Thomas was peeling around Wizards center Marcin Gortat when he appeared to catch an elbow from Porter near the free throw line. His front left tooth flew out of his mouth and Thomas retrieved it from the floor before handing it to someone on the bench, who wrapped it in a towel.

Thomas continued to play without the tooth or a mouth guard, and it didn’t affect his shooting stroke, as he raced to 12 quick points.

Unfortunately, the Celtics started the game ice-cold, watching the Wizards score 16 straight points before Thomas put the Celtics on the board with three free throws. The Wizards led 38-24 after the first quarter.

 

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas spoke at his sister’s funeral on Saturday, tearfully remembering Chyna Thomas as an inspiration and saying he’d never forget her in comments broadcast by King 5 News in his home state of Washington.

Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas spoke at his sister’s funeral on Saturday, tearfully remembering Chyna Thomas as an inspiration and saying he’d never forget her in comments broadcast by King 5 News in his home state of Washington.

“When I found out the news I wanted to give up and quit. And never in my life have I ever thought about quitting,” Thomas said at the services. “I realized quitting isn’t an option. That’s the easy way out. I will keep going for my sister, as I know she wouldn’t want me to stop. I love you Chyna and I miss you so much. And everything I do for the rest of my life will be for you. I love you, girl.”

Thomas flew back to Boston from the funeral late on Saturday night and attended the shootaround before Sunday’s 1 p.m Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Washington Wizards.

Chyna Thomas, 22, was killed in a single-car crash on April 15.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Goodbye, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade. Hello, John Wall and Bradley Beal. 

The team that battled for and earned the No. 1 seed in the East in the final two weeks proved they can put away an inferior (and injured) team as the top seed Celtics blew past the Chicago Bulls, 105-83, at the United Center.