Pregame Post-Ups: C’s Not Worried About Post-All-Star Stagnancy

Sunday, February 26 - Celtics at Pistons

Pregame –C’s Not Worried About Post-All-Star Stagnancy

DETROIT – The Boston Celtics experienced rare stagnancy on the offensive end Friday night as they emerged from the All-Star break and fell 107-97 to the Toronto Raptors.

Boston, the highest-scoring fourth-quarter team in the league (28.9 PP4Q), had great difficulty moving the ball against the Raptors and was held to just 20 points during the final frame.

Brad Stevens, however, did not lose any sleep over Friday’s performance as he set his eyes on Sunday night’s matchup in Detroit.

“We’re still one of the league leaders in moving the ball and we’ve been awfully good in the fourth quarter for most of the year,” Stevens said ahead of tip-off at The Palace of Auburn Hills. “Friday was a tough one. [Toronto] did a great job. Their defense and their defenders had a lot to do with our issues. We should’ve thrown the ball in the post a little bit more than we did, whether it was to Al (Horford) or anyone else that was down there, but that was something that we could look at the film and figure that out.”

One reason why Boston was so stagnant late in the game was because the Raptors were applying tremendous pressure on Isaiah Thomas.

The NBA’s leading fourth-quarter scorer was held to just four points on 1-of-6 shooting during the final frame.

Thomas’ teammates noted after the game that they can’t depend on him to bail them out during every late-game situation.

“He needs help Other guys need to be able to step up and relieve Isaiah," Marcus Smart said following Friday's loss. "We just can’t all put it on Isaiah’s shoulders, and I think sometimes we get caught doing that instead of helping Isaiah.”

Fortunately, Thomas has had tremendous success against Detroit this season, having averaged 30.7 PPG during three matchups. That included his 41-point effort – including 24 points during the fourth quarter – on Jan. 30, when the Celtics outlasted Detroit 113-109 at TD Garden.

Thomas and the C’s hope to pick up that offensive trend again tonight at The Palace and put Friday’s stagnant effort in the past.

- Taylor C. Snow

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