Stars, studs and duds: Final six minutes 'crushed' Celtics vs. Raptors

Stars, studs and duds: Final six minutes 'crushed' Celtics vs. Raptors

No matter where Isaiah Thomas sprinted to on the floor, there was seemingly one or two defenders with him, awaiting him or on his heels.

The Toronto Raptors did all they could to take away as much of Thomas’ airspace as possible.

MORE:

And he still managed to score 27 points and dish out seven assists.

Thomas got solid contributions from his teammates offensively.

But their defense more than anything else, was to blame for Tuesday’s 114-108 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

“We didn’t make plays,” Thomas told reporters after the game. “We didn’t make shots on the offensive end. And on top of that we didn’t get stops. They got into a rhythm. They scored at will the last part of six minutes.”

Celtics coach Brad Stevens echoed similar sentiments:

“The last six minutes of the third quarter crushed us and the last six minutes of the fourth,” Stevens told reporters after the game. “It was like 42-15 in those time frames.”

Despite the loss, Stevens said he took more positives away from the loss than negatives.

Al Horford believes in the long run, the Celtics will benefit from having gone through a game like this.

“This is a good learning experience for our team,” Horford told reporters. “We’ll grow from this. We really had this game in control and just let it get away.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Tuesday’s game.

STARS

DeMar DeRozan: He was a man among boys in the second half which is when he scored 31 of his game-high 41 points.

Isaiah Thomas: Thomas did a nice job of balancing his scoring with getting others involved, scoring a team-high 27 points with seven assists which was also a team high for Boston.

Kyle Lowry: Extremely efficient with the ball, Lowry had 24 points on 7-for-12 shooting with nine assists, four rebounds and two steals.

STUDS

Marcus Smart: It was a solid night for Smart who is still filling in for Avery Bradley (Achilles injury). Smart had 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting with four rebounds and five assists with four steals and a blocked shot.

Jonas Valanciunas: Boston had no answer for how to keep him off the boards, as he finished with a double-double of 18 points and 23 rebounds with two blocked shots.

Al Horford: It was yet another stat-stuffing night for Horford. He had 14 points on 5-for-11 shooting, to go with nine rebounds and four assists.

DUDS

Patrick Patterson: He’s usually a wild card that winds up hurting the Celtics, but not so on Tuesday night. He was scoreless for the Raptors in 21 minutes, missing all three of his field goal attempts while racking up four personal fouls.

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

The Celtics didn’t know when they traded a late first-round pick and Marcus Thornton for Isaiah Thomas that they were getting their next star player, but that 2015 trade deadline move has proven to be a pleasant surprise. 

Appearing on Felger and Mazz Friday, Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said that he sees Thomas, who will be a free agent after next season, in the team’s longterm plans. 

“Every one of these seasons is different. It’s like a movie and you have a cast of characters and the cast changes a little bit every season,” Grousbeck said. “We’d love to have Isaiah here for a long, long time. He’s a phenomenal player and he loves being here.” 

The Celtics stand a strong chance of picking first overall in June’s draft since they own Brooklyn’s first-round pick. Asked whether Thomas’ status would prevent the team from taking a point guard (which the draft’s two prospects play), Grousbeck said the team doesn’t need to decide that now, but suggested it wouldn’t.

“Especially if it’s a very high pick in the draft, you’ve got to draft the best player,” Grousbeck said. “You probably wouldn’t draft for fit as much as just you see if there’s a transformational player that you can have for 10 or 15 years there. If you see a guy like that, you’ve got to make everything else work, I would think.” 

Grousbeck: C's two stars away, so giving up everything for one 'didn't make sense'

Grousbeck: C's two stars away, so giving up everything for one 'didn't make sense'

Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck joined Felger and Mazz Friday, defending Danny Ainge’s inactively at Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Grousbeck’s thinking was that the team is two major pieces away from being a  championship-caliber club, and that giving up assets without filling those spots completely might have been harmful.

“I think it takes some strength and courage not to do anything when everybody’s howling to do something,” Grousbeck said. 

The Celtics were rumored to have had talks with the Bulls about Jimmy Butler and the Pacers about Paul George. Neither player ended up being traded. 

“We’re very comfortable with what happened,” Grousbeck said. “We offered a lot for a couple of guys, and we offered all that we were going to offer and it just wasn’t going to happen. Those guys weren’t going to be traded and they weren’t. It’s not problem. 

“We figure we’re probably two guys away from being a really, really good team; probably two significant guys away, and if we put all the chips in yesterday on one guy, we’re getting rid of draft pick -- or picks -- and we’re getting rid of free agency this summer, so it’s sort of like one step forward, two steps back. It just didn’t make sense.”