Barbosa making impact on offense in limited minutes

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Barbosa making impact on offense in limited minutes

ORLANDO If you're surprised at how well Leandro Barbosa has acclimated himself to the Boston Celtics, well join the club.

Even he has been caught off guard at how well he has fit in with the C's so quickly.

Once again, it was Barbosa's instant offense that played a role in a Boston victory as the C's defeated Orlando 116-110 in overtime.

Barbosa led a Celtics' second unit with 15 points in less than 11 minutes of playing time. That in itself is impressive.

Consider this: Of the 15 points Barbosa scored, 11 came within his first three minutes or so of court time.

"That's my game," Barbosa said. "I like to be aggressive every time I am on the court. Coach (Rivers) has been giving me a lot of confidence so every time I am there, I try to of course set up plays for my teammates, but if I see opportunities for me to score, I will score."

Even Rivers finds himself looking on in astonishment at how quickly Barbosa can get going despite coming off the bench.

"We thought he was going to go for a (scoring) record in the first half," Rivers said. "He's a scorer. We don't have a backup point right now, so when we put him in, we're putting him in as a scorer."

And that's a role that the Celtics have to have him play when Rondo's off the floor for extended stretches of time, as was the case on Sunday when Rondo was in foul trouble.

"That's why we brought him in," said Rondo, who still managed to score 15 points to go with 16 assists and nine rebounds. "We know he can score the ball."

Even though Barbosa found himself racking up a hefty number of fouls, it still didn't take away from how he controlled the game for stretches of play.

"To have a point guard as a backup and have that type of effect on the game is big for me and our team," Rondo said.

And while much has been made of what Barbosa has brought to the C's offensively, he has had moments in which his defense has impressed the Celtics as well.

But on Sunday, it was all about buckets for Barbosa.

"Basketball is not all about scoring," Barbosa said. "If I am having one of those nights where I'm not dong well on offense, I am going to try to do my best I can on the defensive end. Tonight my offense was good and I took advantage of it."

And the opportunity to produce so often has been a bit unexpected for Barbosa who credits the C's coaches and his teammates for allowing him to impact games by simply doing what he seems to do best - score.

"They have been giving me a lot of confidence when I am on the court," Barbosa said. "That helps me a lot and I feel comfortable."

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

BOSTON – This continues to be a historic season for Isaiah Thomas as more records fell in Wednesday’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee, and the company he’s keeping becomes even more exclusive. 

Thomas had a game-high 32 points on Wednesday which included five made 3’s on nine attempts. That gave him 223 for the season which is a new franchise single-season record for made 3-pointers. The previous record was 222 set by Antoine Walker during the 2001-2002 season.

And his 32 points scored gives him 2,012 this season. 

Only six players in franchise history (Paul Pierce was the last to do it during the 2005-2006 season) have scored 2,000 or more points in a single season. 

Oh, there’s more. 

With Wednesday being the 66th time this season he has had 20 or more points, Thomas has now tied Pierce (2005-2006) and Larry Bird (1985-1986; 1987-1988) for sixth on the Celtics’ single-season franchise list. 

“I didn’t even know that,” a visibly disappointed Thomas said following Wednesday’s loss. “It doesn’t feel that good right now. But when I look back on it, probably in the offseason, I’ll appreciate it a little more. But I’m just staying in the moment and try and play as best I can to lead this team to as many wins as possible.”

Other season milestones Thomas is in the mix for include the following:

  • The 5-foot-9 guard is one of three players this season to have 50 or more games of 25-plus points, joined by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (57) and Houston’s James Harden (54).
  • Thomas has made at least one 3-pointer in a franchise-record 50 straight games (Dec. 3 – March 29). That’s also the longest current streak in the NBA. 
  • With 66 games of 20 or more points this season, Thomas is second in the NBA to Westbrook (67).

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

BOSTON – One of the more bizarre plays in Boston’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee came in the second quarter, requiring some explanation from the officials afterwards. 

With 3:55 to play in the second quarter, the officials had originally called a foul on Marcus Smart which he verbally protested that eventually led to him being whistled for a technical foul. 

After the officials reviewed the play, they changed the call to a personal foul against Khris Middleton but no change to the called technical foul against Smart who objected to a call that, upon review, they agreed was the wrong call to make. 

Official Sean Corbin, through pool reporter Ken Powtak of the Associated Press, acknowledged that the original call was a loose ball foul against Smart. 

“The (officiating) crew got together, we met prior to video and we decided that we needed to look at video because both players were on the floor bleeding so we went to the video for a hostile act,” Corbin told Powtak. “In the review we noticed that Khris Middleton initially made contact to Marcus Smart’s face. That’s how the original contact to the play occurred.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, Middleton missed his technical free throw while Smart split a pair of free throws which cut Milwaukee’s lead to 49-40.

Still, that’s no consolation for Smart who was whistled for a technical foul on a play that the official acknowledged was the wrong call to make. 

In the fourth quarter, Smart was at the center of yet another controversial call that was also reviewed by the officials. The verdict wasn't nearly as good for Smart who was whistled for a flagrant foul after getting his feet tangled up with Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo who was called for a non-shooting foul in the play with 4:46 to play. 

Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws and on the Bucks' ensuing possession, he was called for traveling.

Smart was unavailable to talk after the game in part because the aforementioned incident left an abrasion to his mouth and, because of the technical foul, a little lighter in the wallet as well.