BOSTON — Isaiah Thomas will get most of the headlines after the Celtics’ win Tuesday night, but Boston couldn’t have come back from multiple double-digit deficits without some other key performances.
Avery Bradley was one of five Celtics players who scored in double digits in Boston’s 129-119 Game 2 victory over the Washington Wizards at TD Garden, and he did that despite suffering a hip pointer before halftime.
Bradley returned for the second half after getting his hip iced, but he still had some apparent issues with it, so much so that Celtics coach Brad Stevens said afterward that he didn’t expect the shooting guard to come back in the game.
But Bradley did, going on to hit a 3-pointer with 7:09 remaining in regulation to give the Celtics the lead. He also had a steal and dunk on an impressive individual effort in overtime.
Terry Rozier came off the bench and also reached double digits with 12 points. He added six defensive rebounds, as well, and made one of the most important buckets of the game — a 3-pointer with 1:38 left in regulation to tie the score.
And then there’s Jaylen Brown, who only played 11:41 but contributed critical defense in that span.
“I thought he was really good,” Stevens said of Brown. “Yeah, I thought he was really good for two straight games now. I don’t know if I’ve seen him guard a guy of (Wizards guard Bradley) Beal’s caliber the way he guarded him. He tried to make it as tough as possible.”
Let’s take a look at a few more notes from a Celtics-Wizards Game 2 that gave Boston a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
— The Celtics’ post-game notes sure featured a lot of Thomas’ stats. Thomas scored 53 points, a career playoff high, and only John Havlicek (54 points) has scored more in a playoff game in Celtics history. Thomas also was the fourth player in C’s history to score 50 or more points in a playoff game.
— Just how well did the Celtics play over the final stretch? Well, after the Wizards took a 110-104 lead with 2:43 remaining in the fourth quarter, the C’s went on a 25-9 run over the rest of regulation and overtime. Boston now is 22-20 in postseason overtime contests.
— Marcus Smart made the decision to take himself out of Game 1 after he made some mistakes that benefited the Wizards.
When asked about the peculiar decision before Tuesday’s Game 2, Stevens called it both “unusual” and “positive.”
“I didn’t talk to him about it,” Stevens said in his pregame press conference. “But it is unusual. Guys don’t usually want to come out. … Very, very, very few people want to come out. But I think that there’s a lot of positive in that it’s really unique I think for a 23-year-old to have that kind of self-awareness in that moment. So, I looked at is as a positive thing.”
“Well, the tooth that was knocked out was not the only one that was affected,” Stevens confirmed before Tuesday’s game. “So he had some other issues there. He was getting oral surgery yesterday. A few hours after practice ended, came by the office for a minute, but was still — I don’t know if he went back to the dentist (Tuesday) or went to the hospital (Tuesday), just to work on it some more, but he’s continued to have some work on it.
That didn’t prevent Thomas from starting in Game 2, and he was seen having a pretty cute moment with his son before taking the floor.
— The Celtics’ starting lineup for Game 2 was a question mark up until player introductions.
As Stevens put it pregame, he anticipated Amir Johnson would be back in the starting five, but that depended on whether Markieff Morris played with his knee injury.
Well, Morris did get the start, which meant Johnson took back his usual role from Gerald Green. Green never played in Game 2, and Johnson only played 4:31.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images