The last time the Boston Celtics were on the court, point guard Isaiah Thomas dropped a career-high 52 points but didn’t register an assist.
That was not the case in Tuesday’s game against the Utah Jazz as Thomas dished out a career-high 15 assists to go along with his team-leading 29 points in the C’s 115-104 victory at TD Garden.
Jae Crowder chipped in with 21 points on 5-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc, and center Al Horford added 21 points of his own as the Celtics won their eighth game in 10 tries thanks to a franchise record-tying 17 made 3-pointers.
The win moves the C’s to 21-14 on the year while the loss drops the Jazz to 22-14.
Here’s how it all went down.
PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: Amir Johnson
C: Al Horford
JAZZ NEGATE HOT START
The Celtics continued their recent stretch of torching top defenses as they jumped on the Jazz for 28 first-quarter points by shooting 57 percent with only two turnovers. The C’s assisted on 10 of their 12 made field goals in the period, but their efficient basketball didn’t translate to a lead as the Jazz held a one-point lead after the first stanza, thanks to 10 points from guard Gordon Hayward.
Thomas continued where he left off against the Miami Heat, scoring nine points in the period, including a ridiculous contested rainbow jumper over Hayward. Crowder and Horford also got off to hot starts against the league’s third-ranked defense, each scoring six in the quarter, but the Utah bench went on a 13-3 run to end the first.
IT AND JC TAKE OVER THE THIRD
Thomas showcased his unselfishness to begin the second half, as he found Bradley for a quick floater in the lane before dishing to Horford for a wide-open triple. His next assist gave him 10 for the game, his 23rd career double-double, as the star point guard found Crowder cutting to the rim for an easy finger roll. On the next trip down the court, he drove into the lane and hit Johnson with a nifty lob pass for another assist.
While Thomas was facilitating, Crowder was dialing it up from long distance. A beneficiary of Thomas’ career-high in assists, Crowder was wide open on the wing and splashed a triple to grow the C’s lead to 14. After Thomas found Horford with a highlight-reel pass for another 3-pointer, Marcus Smart found Crowder all alone in the corner for his fifth hit from distance on the night, and the lead swelled to 17. Thomas and Crowder combined for 15 points in the quarter, but the Jazz closed the stanza on a 7-2 run to cut the lead to nine.
Despite Crowder’s hot shooting and Thomas’ career-high in assists, the Jazz wouldn’t go away. Midway through the final quarter, Jazz guard Joe Johnson blocked a Jonas Jerebko layup attempt and put one off the glass on the other end. Johnson knocked down a triple on their next trip down the court and then got his mid-range jumper going to cut the lead to seven. The lead oscillated between seven and 12 for the next few minutes as Johnson kept the Jazz within striking distance, scoring 14 points in the period.
Thomas re-entered the game with just over three minutes to play, and immediately found himself in a mismatch. With Jazz forward Joe Ingles guarding him, Thomas went to work. He burst past Ingles into the paint, before kicking it out to Crowder who swung it around to Bradley for a wide-open 3-pointer. Utah would get no closer than 10 after that as the C’s locked down on defense and salted the game away at the free-throw line.
PLAY OF THE GAME
IT has some serious handles.
The Celtics will be back in action Friday when they welcome the Philadelphia 76ers to TD Garden. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images