Boston Celtics Need To Take The Pressure Off Isaiah Thomas Offensively
In their first game post NBA trade deadline the Boston Celtics were defeated 107-97 by the Toronto Raptors despite leading by a total of 17 points at one point during the game. While a lot of things went wrong for the C’s quickly, on of their major issues was All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas was unable to really get going against Toronto.
“Every time I came off a pick, they had two or three guys on me,” Thomas said. “Their point of emphasis was probably to stop me in the fourth quarter and they did a good job of that. They played harder than us in the second half.”
IT ended up with a team high 20 points with only four coming in the fourth quarter when the Raptors glued themselves to his hip. As good as Isaiah has been this season in carrying the team, he is simply not enough when it comes to facing a top tier team. If the Boston Celtics hope to make it anywhere in the postseason they will need other players to step up around him.
This is a sentiment that Marcus Smart shares.
“We can’t just depend on Isaiah to save us,” Smart said. “He needs help; other guys need to step up and relieve Isaiah. When he does get that shot, he’s open. They have to watch out for us. We can’t just put it all on Isaiah’s shoulders. Sometimes we get caught doing that instead of helping Isaiah.”
What the Celtics really need is the return of defensive specialist and 3 point sniper Avery Bradley. AB is getting ever closer to a return and having him rejoin the Celtics lineup is a big deal since he is the second leading scorer on the team and can be trusted taking deep fourth quarter 3’s to help win a game.
Getting Bradley back is not the only thing that needs to happen though, Al Horford needs to get more involved on offense. Horford took only 5 shots against the Raptors in 30 minutes of play, that is simply not enough to help the Celtics win games and he needs to be involved early and often.
With the Raptors getting better at the trade deadline acquiring PJ Tucker and Serge Ibaka they showed the Celtics how an acquisition at the deadline can help shake up things in the Eastern Conference. Only time will tell but you cannot help but feel that the Celtics never ending reliance on Thomas offensively will inevitably kill them in the playoffs once again.