Keys to the Game

thomas_paint_bucks970442.jpg

Isaiah Thomas
Caption: 
Isaiah Thomas heads for the hoop against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night at TD Garden.
Credit: 
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty
Key Moment
Key Player
Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night

Key Moment

If you left your seat at halftime to grab a beer, got stuck in a long line and missed the first half of the third quarter, you came back to your seat thinking, “What the heck happened?”

The Celtics enjoyed a 52-50 lead at the break, and were locked in a tight game with the Milwaukee Bucks. But it was a 15-point game after old nemesis Zaza Pachulia dunked (whatever happened to 'nothing easy'??) and the Bucks led 73-58 with 4:50 to go in the third. The Celtics then had the rest of the night to chip away at the lead, but never got closer than four points.

With playoff race implications resting on every game, the C’s just can’t seem to put a string of wins together, and with each step forward there seems to be a step back.

Friday’s 110-101 loss kept the C’s treading water, only their heads are currently submerged below the surface, which in this case is the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. When they walked back to the locker room after another disappointing home loss, all the Celtics could do was check the standings and hope for help in the form of a Brooklyn loss. But the Nets beat the Raptors and the C's arrived in Toronto early Saturday morning in the ninth spot with 42 losses on the season.

The Celtics trailed by as many as 16 points and spent the last 14 minutes or so chasing down the deficit, with Jonas Jerebko and Jae Crowder connecting on big 3s that got the crowd on its feet. But once again the Celtics ran out of steam at TD Garden. Some ugly turnovers in transition didn’t help the cause.

The good news is, the C’s play the second game of a back-to-back tomorrow night in Toronto. If you haven't been tracking this anomaly, the Celtics are 9-1 in their last 10 games that come in that scenario; it's about as counterintuitive of a stat as you’ll see in the NBA.

How does Brad Stevens explain such a a phenomenon? “Hopefully we’re able to compartmentalize whatever happened the night before and get ready for the next one,” Stevens said.

“We’re gonna have to play great tomorrow night.”

Key Player

Isaiah Thomas may not ever get back to 100 percent this season after the nasty spill he took in Miami, but he was attacking the basket again against the Bucks.

Thomas played 26 minutes and dropped 23 points off the bench, as well as dished out six assists. But he may have gotten a little carried away in the fourth, and turned the ball over three times in the final stanza while the C's pushed to make their comeback.

The turnovers aren't ideal, but Thomas was getting to the basket and to the line (7-for-8 on FTAs), and that's what the Celtics need to see from their reserve point guard if they're going to sneak into the postseason in the last two weeks of the schedule.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Seven Milwaukee players scored in double figures, and every Buck who touched the floor scored at least six points.
  • Jared Sullinger grabbed one rebound in just 3:12 of playing time in his return to the lineup.
  • Jonas Jerebko scored 17 points, and hit seven of his 10 field goal attempts.
  • Milwaukee blocked six shots to Boston's two swats.
  • The Celtics were outscored 36-23 in the third quarter.
  • Milwaukee hurt Boston inside, outscoring the C's 62-48 in the paint.
  • O.J. Mayo dropped 20 of his 24 points in the first half for the Bucks.
  • Both teams recorded nine offensive rebounds.
  • Milwaukee had 31 assists on their 45 field goals.

Quote of the Night

I’m disappointed with the turnovers. We drove it too deep instead of keeping it moving and spraying the ball. But all that being said, they played really well. Their length and athleticism really bothered us.

Brad Stevens on falling to the Bucks at TD Garden.

Key Player
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