Stiemsma added to USA Basketball Select Team

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Stiemsma added to USA Basketball Select Team

BOSTON If Team USA brings home the gold in this summer's Olympics in London, Boston Celtics center Greg Stiemsma will know that he played a role in helping that come about.

The Celtics rookie has been added to the Team USA Basketball Select Team that will train against the USA Men's National team, beginning July 6-12 in Las Vegas.

Stiemsma was added in part because of his play with the 2011 USA squad that won a bronze medal during the 2011 Pan Am Games.

In addition, New Orleans' Lance Thomas was also added to the Select team for similar reasons.

"We made a commitment back in October that we would select two players from the 2011 USA Pan American Games Team and invite them to be part of the 2012 USA Select Team," said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman, in a statement. "Greg Stiemsma and Lance Thomas were valuable contributors to the USA's bronze medal showing at the 2011 Pan American Games and both earned their way on to NBA rosters this season and demonstrated they can contribute at that level. I'm pleased to have both players join the USA Select Team."

Stiemsma was a starter for all five USA Pan Am games, averaging 3.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. With the C's, he appeared in 55 regular season games and averaged 2.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and a team-best 1.6 blocks per game which was second among NBA rookies. His impact hasn't been the same in the playoffs, in part because of injuries and soreness to both feet. The 26-year-old rookie has averaged 1.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and just 0.6 blocks in 17 playoff games.

In addition to Thomas, Stiemsma joins a USA Select team that includes the following players: DeJuan Blair (San Antonio Spurs Pittsburgh); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings Kentucky); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors USC); Derrick Favors (Utah Jazz Georgia Tech); Paul George (Indiana Pacers Fresno State); Taj Gibson (Chicago Bulls USC); Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz Butler); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers Duke); Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs San Diego State); Jeremy Lin (New York Knicks Harvard); Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors Washington State); and John Wall (Washington Wizards Kentucky).

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.