Tristan Thompson has chosen the right time to be falling into an offensive rhythm.
The free agent acquisition on Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors had 13 points and eight rebounds, his best game as a Boston Celtic to that point.
That is, until Wednesday night against the Sacramento Kings, albeit in a losing effort for the C’s.
“I think the last two months have been his best two games and that’s really encouraging. Not just from the scoring standpoint, but he’s doing a lot of things. He’s active on the glass, he’s done a good job,” coach Brad Stevens said after the game of Thompson.
The Celtics big had 17 points and 10 rebounds, making his presence known on the defensive glass, especially.
“Yeah he looked great tonight. T. Thomp kept us in the game and was great in spots,” Jaylen Brown said after the game. “We need him to do that. He was fantastic tonight. I’m proud of the way he played today.”
Still, Thompson came out of the game down the stretch as Stevens saw some things matchup-wise with how the Kings were playing the visitors.
Stevens seems to still be feeling things out when it comes to how to manage those front count minutes between Thompson, Daniel Theis and Robert Williams.
“They were small most of that time,” Stevens said. “I thought Rob was playing well in that stint. He was giving us a lot at the rim and they were spreading us out more. It was just a decision to go back with Theis at the end of the game who made some good plays at the end of the game but we have three very solid good players at that spot, so there’s going to be decisions to make each time. But I thought the double big lineup, when they were double big, was pretty effective tonight.”
Here are some other notes and takeaways from the Celtics’ loss to the Kings:
— Jayson Tatum was just one board shy of his first career triple-double.
The star 22-year-old led Boston in the loss with 27 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds and two steals.
Though he didn’t the milestone on Wednesday, don’t rule out seeing it happen sometime over this stretch while the Celtics are without key ballhandlers like Marcus Smart and Payton Pritchard. Especially if Kemba Walker is inactive, like he was on the second night of the Celtics back-to-back.
Stevens is looking to Tatum to play a little point guard when Boston needs to play a little bigger on a matchup-by-matchup basis, which can only help him expedite his growth as a great passer.
It’s just another one of the roles that he and Brown have been asked to step into as Boston has tried to navigate all of the schedule shorthanded thus far.
“Just come out and play basketball and try to do the best that we can to matchup with the scouting report and do whatever it is we need to do. That’s the league, guys go down, got to step up. That’s it.”
— The officials missed a goaltending call when Brown made a move in the paint and his attempt was swatted away by Richaun Holmes.
What would have been a three-point play became worth just one point after Brown missed a free throw, adding fuel to the fire.
“They said they missed it, but I don’t know,” Brown said. “It’s over with now. I have no comment. I think they know they missed it.”
— Two games down, three more to go on this West Coast road trip.
The Celtics have a day off Thursday before returning to action Friday with a tough test against the Los Angeles Clippers at 10 p.m. ET. From there, Boston heads to Phoenix to face the Suns in a 2 p.m. ET matinee on Super Bowl Sunday and closes out the road trip against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday.