Knicks Spoil Another 30-Point Effort by Thomas
NEW YORK – Isaiah Thomas has rediscovered his offensive prowess.
However, that fact is not leading the Boston Celtics into the win column.
Boston dropped its second consecutive game Tuesday night during which Thomas scored at least 34 points. The C’s fell 120-114 to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, two days after falling 101-98 to the Grizzlies in Memphis.
“He’s playing awfully well,” Brad Stevens said after the game of Thomas. “My concern is we’ve lost them both.”
Sans Thomas, both games may not have even been competitive. In Memphis, he was the only Celtic to score more than 14 points. In New York, his 16-point performance during the third quarter propelled the C’s back into the game after they trailed by as many as 14 during the first half. Boston actually led during the fourth quarter of both of those games almost entirely because of his efforts.
Thomas has now scored 69 points over the past two games on an efficient 52.3 percent shooting. Before this recent surge, he had shot only 36.2 percent from the field and 20.5 percent from long range over his previous nine games. The point guard credits Stevens and a bit of ingenuity for his back-to-back 30-point performances.
“Coach is putting me in position to be successful and I’m just trying to figure out different ways to make it tough on the defense and not just do one thing each and every time down,” he said. “Show something different and be unpredictable.
“The shots are falling. I’m in a pretty good rhythm right now.”
Thomas then followed up with an obligatory “but.” He suggested that he may need to do more in order for this team to win games, which seems to be quite the stretch.
The truth of the matter is that his teammates aren’t providing him much help.
Offensively, Celtics players not named Thomas have shot a woeful 43.2 percent from the field over the past two games. Simply put, he has been carrying the team at that end of the court.
Defensively, Boston is also experiencing issues. It has allowed two of the bottom 10 offensive teams in the league to score an average of 110.5 points per game over its last two contests. After allowing the Knicks to drop 120 points during regulation, Thomas explained what his team is failing to do at the defensive end of the court.
“Just paying attention to the scout(ing report), paying attention to detail, what guys like to do, making it tougher for guys,” he sad. “In that first quarter, I think those guys scored 36 points or whatever. You’re not going to win games on the road like that.”
Along those same lines, Stevens added, “If we don’t improve in the details, then we don’t have a chance.”
The only reason Boston has had a chance over its past two games is because Thomas was on the floor. He has caught absolute fire and he just completed the best two-game scoring stretch of any Celtic in recent memory.
But Thomas can’t do it by himself. He needs his teammates to pitch in at both ends of the court, the way they had been when this team stood at 18-13 on the season not too long ago.