Ainge On Isaiah’s Comments: ‘Not That Big Of A Deal’

BOSTON (CBS) — Isaiah Thomas didn’t hold his frustrations back following a pair of bad losses over the last week, calling out his teammates and head coach.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday to discuss Thomas’ comments, saying he has spoken to the All-Star guard and used it as a chance to highlight the importance of his leadership on the team.

“I wasn’t mad; I felt like it was an opportunity to talk to Isaiah, as we often do, about leadership. We had a good conversation and he received it very well,” said Ainge. “I was happy to hear that he reached out to Brad [Stevens] quickly, before Brad had to address the issue.”

Thomas first vented his frustration following an embarrassing last-second loss to the Suns in Phoenix. Thomas mishandled Crowder’s inbound pass with just four seconds left on the clock, allowing Suns rookie Tyler Ulis to drain a game-winning three-pointer off the turnover. His comments in the locker room essentially blamed Crowder for not getting the ball in quick enough.

The following night, Thomas called out Stevens for his odd lineup in the third quarter as the Celtics blew a big lead against the L.A. Clippers. Ainge just chalked both instances up to a fierce competitor being frustrated following a pair of losses.

“Isaiah, the beauty of him and we’ve seen this the three years hes been with us, is he speaks his mind. There are some refreshing things about it,” said Ainge. “It’s just not that big of a deal. I think that’s why he said those things, because that’s what he thought.

“He’s an emotional guy. I’m not making excuses, but he’ll learn from this,” added Ainge. “He wants to be a good leader and it’s a good learning opportunity for him.”

Ainge also touched on the team’s win over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, and Al Horford’s elbow injury:

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