By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — If you’re still in awe over what Isaiah Thomas did for the Celtics in Tuesday night’s Game 2 win over the Washington Wizards, we don’t blame you.
Thomas put on a show, scoring 53 points in the overtime victory, that will join the long history of Celtics postseason accomplishments. Yes, it’s only Game 2 of the second round, which doesn’t mean much for a team that has 17 banners hanging above them whenever they hit their home floor. But enough can’t be said for Thomas playing the way he has this postseason, given the circumstances surrounding him. He continues to do whatever he wants on the offensive end, despite the weight of his sister’s death (her 23rd birthday would have been Tuesday night) and despite spending nearly 10 hours in oral surgery over the last two days.
Not to mention, he tested out his new Shock Doctor in the second half:
It’s simply incredible what the little man can do, and Tuesday’s game is one we’ll be talking about for a long time.
While Thomas stole the show, the Celtics stole the game, and now own a 2-0 series lead heading into Thursday night’s Game 3 down in Washington DC. Here’s everything else that happened on a special Tuesday night at the TD Garden:
Another Burst From Terry Rozier
Heading into the season, Rozier was supposed to be the guy to replace Evan Turner off the bench. He never quite lived up to that expectation, but he’s given Brad Stevens a reliable option off the bench in the playoffs.
The second-year guard is averaging eight points and seven rebounds over the first two games of this series, with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists on Tuesday night. He drained a gigantic three late from the corner to tie things up at 110-110 with 1:38 left to go, setting up Isaiah’s heroics the rest of the way.
Rozier gives Boston an instant energy boost when he hits the floor and the kid can jump out of the building, making him a gifted rebounder from the guard position (potentially their second-best rebounder on a roster full of bigs who struggle to do so). He still makes his mistakes, and tries to get a little too cute with some of his layups, but the positives are far outweighing the negatives at the moment with Rozier (look no further than his absurd plus-25 in his 25 minutes in Game 2).
[graphiq id=”dQRHDC6YgAJ” title=”Terry Rozier Stats in Last Five Games” width=”600″ height=”495″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/dQRHDC6YgAJ” ]
“I think he’s a young player, so he’s going to have ups and downs,” Stevens said of Rozier. “And sometimes we don’t look at ups and downs as a good thing, but they are. It’s good to have to go through some tough times just as well as the good times. And the one thing I’ve always known about Terry from the minute I met him was he was extremely athletic and he was going to compete, and that’s never waned, even when he didn’t shoot it so well for a while there.”
Rozier was thrust into action last postseason when Avery Bradley went down with a hamstring injury with mixed results. It looks like that experience is proving to be invaluable in Rozier’s second year.
Brad’s Four-Guard Lineup
Stevens has been forced to tinker with his lineup and rotations all postseason, which is nothing new. On Tuesday night, he went with a four-guard lineup that featured Thomas, Rozier, Bradley and Marcus Smart with Al Horford at center, and they turned a 14-point deficit into just five points heading into the fourth quarter.
That lineup ran laps around the Wizards, turning that deficit into a lead before squandering it all together, but they came up big in the final minutes of the win with Boston trailing 110-104. Thomas hit a triple from the top of the key, and after John Wall missed a three of his own, Rozier knocked down his corner three to knot things up.
Asked what he hoped the lineup would accomplish, Stevens said it was pretty simple.
“I just felt speed,” he said “One of our best defensive rebounders in the series right now is Terry Rozier. So whether he’s playing at the one, two or three, he’ll go get balls. Marcus Smart will go get balls and hopefully we can drive and kick on the other end.”
Stevens On Small Lineup, Rozier’s Play In Postseason:
Expect to see that small and fast lineup again going forward against Washington.
Avery Bradley’s Hip
Bradley is one of the more underrated two-way players in the league, but the big knock on the guard is he always seems to get hurt at this important juncture of the year. He left Tuesday’s game late in the second quarter after bumping hips with Otto Porter, but was able to return in the second half despite suffering a right hip pointer. It’s a good thing he did, as Bradley finished with 14 points and four rebounds, also contributing with three steals on the defensive end on a night where defense was somewhat optional.
He’ll be a key part of the C’s defense going forward, whether he’s on John Wall or Bradley Beal, so his hip injury will be something worth monitoring.
Olynyk couldn’t do much on the floor on Tuesday night, but he showed off some interesting (read: awkward) moves on the sidelines late in the game.
Moves like that put Elaine Benes to shame. It’s some of the best footwork Celtics fans have seen out of Olynyk during his career in green.
John Wall had himself an evening, and was downright unstoppable for much of Tuesday night’s contest. Bradley Beal? Not so much.
The Wizards guard shot just 4-for-15, finishing with just 14 points in 47 minutes, and missed what could have been the game-winner for Washington at the end of regulation. He was a relative non-factor for most of the evening, so most of the weight was on Wall, who poured in 40 points and dish out 13 assists.
Beal had 27 points in Game 1 against the Celtics and is shooting 45 percent for the playoffs, so we’ll just have to see which Beal shows up on Thursday night.
Morris’ Ankle Looked OK, Until Isaiah Broke It
Markief Morris started Game 2 despite suffering a nasty ankle injury in Game 1, and played well until Isaiah Thomas broke one of his ankles in the second half:
That was just one of the many greatest hits from Isaiah’s spectacular evening.
Morris Throws Down Horford
Morris said before the game he was going to chat about Al Horford about that Game 1 ankle sprain, which he suffered when he fell on Horford’s foot after a jump shot. It looks like that pre-tip chat didn’t sit well with Morris, who threw Horford down a few minutes later.
Game 3 on Thursday night should be a whole lot of fun.