CHICAGO – Isaiah Thomas did not take to the floor with his teammates for practice on Thursday, but Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said his two-time All-Star was scheduled to arrive in Chicago in plenty of time for Friday night’s Game 3 against the Chicago Bulls.
“The plan of attack is for him to fly back late (Thursday) night,” Stevens said.
Thomas flew to Tacoma, Washington after Boston's Game 2 loss on Tuesday to be with his family after the one-car accident that killed his 22-year-old sister Chyna J. Thomas, on Saturday.
Boston, the top seed in the East this year, lost Games 1 and 2 at the TD Garden and have no choice but to view Friday’s game as a must-win if they are to have any realistic shot at rallying to win this series.
And for that to happen, they will surely need Thomas who leads all players in this series with a 26.5 points per game average.
But as we saw in Games 1 and 2, even with Thomas putting up Thomas-like numbers scoring the ball, the Celtics will need more than that in order to emerge with a win on Friday.
Adjustments are indeed in order if the Celtics are to get back in this series.
“Taking care of the ball is the number one thing,” said Boston’s Al Horford. “And then making sure we get back on defense and get our defense set. I feel that’s a priority.”
But above all else, Boston has to find a way to win on Friday regardless of how the victory comes about as they try and rally from a 2-0 series deficit.
“It’s not where we were expecting to be at all,” Horford said. “But we have an opportunity to come in here (Friday). I know it’s going to be hectic out here. We’re all we have, so we’re fighting for our lives right here. I’m looking forward to (Game 3).”
BOSTON – The Celtics have had legit drama in their past two training camps, each involving a fight for 15 – as in the 15th roster spot.
Two years ago, it was Perry Jones III winding up on the outside looking in.
Last season, it was R.J. Hunter being edged out for the final roster spot by James Young.
Who will it be this year?
Because for the third season in a row, the Celtics are on the verge of heading into camp having at least one too many guaranteed contracts.
The agent for Shane Larkin told CSNNE.com that his client will be joining the Celtics for this upcoming season, which would bring Boston’s total number of guaranteed contracts to 16. That includes the announced signings Thursday of German forward Daniel Theis and the team’s first-round pick in 2016 and 16th selection overall, French big man Guerschon Yabusele.
Making their deals official gives the Celtics one more guaranteed contract than the NBA-maximum a team can take heading into the season. That figure does not include the recent addition of Kadeem Allen, who agreed to a two-way contract and does not count against the team’s total.
The past two training camps have produced some hotly contested battles, which has seemingly brought out the best in those competing for roster spots as well as the team’s more established players.
This camp should be more of the same, especially when you consider the talent assembled thus far has a foundation that has a high level of interchangeability.
Coach Brad Stevens, slowly but surely, is getting closer to having the kind of roster that can compete at the highest levels regardless of their opponent’s preferred style of play.
“We’ve become more versatile as the years have gone on,” Stevens said. “We entered the playoffs a couple years ago [against Cleveland], we only had a couple guys who could really swing that 3 [small forward] and 4 [power forward] spot. Being able to slowly add the right guys … you look at guys like Jaylen [Brown], you look at a guy like Jayson [Tatum], you look at Semi Ojeleye, those guys have the body to do it.”
Fortunately for the Celtics, they are not the only players on the roster with an element of versatility to their game.
Here’s a look at the team’s current roster broken down into the four primary positions – guards, wings, perimeter bigs and bigs.
WINGS (bigger point guards, shooting guards, small forwards)
BIGS (Power forwards and centers)
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