Familiar formula: KG's D, Pierce's offense

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Familiar formula: KG's D, Pierce's offense

WASHINGTON The Celtics' version of Yin and Yang - known to most as Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett - were delivering some serious Celtic synergy on Saturday night.

Pierce delivering a steady dose of scoring went hand-in-hand with Garnett's stout defense as Boston held off a late Washington rally to escape with an 89-86 win.

After dropping the first two games of the season, Pierce was determined to avoid a trilogy of terrible losses to start the season.

"Aggressive" was how C's coach Doc Rivers described Pierce's play to begin the game.

While Pierce may have been more eager to make his mark offensively, Rivers believes his teammates did a better job of getting him and Kevin Garnett (15 points) more involved in the offense.

And the result was the C's racing out to a 17-2 lead.

"I reminded our guys that Paul is on our team, and Kevin was on our team," Rivers said. "I loved at halftime they had the most shots.

At the half, Boston had a 49-42 lead. Pierce led the way with 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting. Garnett chipped in 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting. The rest of the C's starters had a total of 14 points.

"In the third and middle of the fourth quarter our transition defense reverted back to where we've been all year," Rivers said. "But overall, especially in the beginning of the game, I thought we came out with great defensive energy."

And leading that defensive charge was Garnett.

"We played with a purpose," Garnett said. "We came with a little fire. That's the way Doc's teams are built. We played with an edge."

True, but the C's left more than enough room for improvement.

"We know we have to play better," Pierce told Comcast SportsNet moments after the win. "We got off to a good start, so we have to be able to maintain that. Late in the third when we got up 12, 13 points, that's a time when you have a chance to put a team away. We didn't do that. So we still have a long way to go, but I'm happy we got the win."

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.