BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics were without their leading scorer Wednesday night in Orlando, but didn’t have much of an issue with the Magic.
With Isaiah Thomas back in Boston to get treatment on his pulled groin, the Celtics got a balanced attack from everyone on the roster, resulting in a 117-87 win over a Magic squad that had been playing some impressive defense as of late.READ MORE: Rep. Stephen Lynch: 'We Have To Get To An Agreement' On Stalled Infrastructure Bill
Avery Bradley led the way with 23 points while Jae Crowder poured in 17 of his own to go with 10 rebounds. Marcus Smart, starting in place of Thomas, had 13 points while Terry Rozier (16 points) and rookie Jaylen Brown (13 points) helped lead the way off the bench.
Seven Celtics scored in double figures en route to the blowout victory, Boston’s most convincing and best win of the season. Celtics president Danny Ainge joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday for his weekly call into the show, and said the C’s young core had a chance to really shine with plenty of shots to go around.
“Our young guys had a chance to step up and were forced into action. I was very impressed,” said Ainge. “Games like last night — where we’re missing a guy who uses up 36 percent of our possessions and our top offensive guy who our players rely on to score the easy way — it’s good for them to play in a flow, to get a rhythm and get some confidence going. Last night, they didn’t have to look over their shoulder.
“It’s just easier for players. You heard Rozier say he felt like he was in college again. He is used to playing 10-15 minutes and that’s a harder role to show what you can do and be consistent. Those guys have been playing well, but it’s more fun for them to play more and get a rhythm for the game,” Ainge added.
The Celtics are hoping that continues Friday night when they host the Toronto Raptors at the TD Garden, as Ainge said Thomas will “probably” miss his second straight game.READ MORE: Man Runs Off With 'High-Value' Diamond Necklace From Swansea Jewelry Store
Ainge also touched on Marcus Smart’s flopping. The C’s guard was warned by the league on Wednesday for taking a dive at the end of Monday night’s loss in Houston, but the Celtics don’t want Smart to change the way he plays.
“It’s interesting, the whole concept of flopping,” said Ainge. “It’s embellishing an act, which I could turn to 10 every single game. I’m not trying to defend Marcus; we know that he flops. But the best players flop. They draw attention.
“We saw it with James Harden the other night; he drives into the lane, he throws up his arms in the air, flails and jumps into the defender and goes to the free throw line all night,” Ainge continued. “The concept is that you’re trying to draw attention to the contact made so the official will see it. If you don’t show any reaction, it’s hard for the official to see the contact. The reason the rule is there because its been tricking the official so much and it’s an embarrassment to the refs.
“I, honestly, love how Marcus plays and I know his teammates love how he plays and I think he’ll get better. He’s 22 years old. It’s nothing that I’m worried about,” said Ainge.
Listen to the full interview below, as Ainge rags on Toucher & Rich for the way they dress on TV:MORE NEWS: State Workers Face Sunday Deadline To Get COVID Vaccine Or Risk Losing Jobs