The Boston Celtics took down the New Orleans Pelicans to finish a flawless three game homestand, 117-108.
The C's were led by Marcus Smart (22 pts, 5 reb, 6 ast) in place of a sidelined Avery Bradley (sore achilles) and Isaiah Thomas (38 pts, 2 stl) led the game in scoring with another monster fourth frame.
On the Pelicans side, Anthony Davis (36 pts, 15 reb, 2 blk) shouldered most of the load, while Langston Galloway (20 pts, 4 reb) haunted the C's again after pouring in 21 in his last appearance against the Celtics.
Smart was the jumper cables that got the offense going in the first half. When New Orleans built a lead, Marcus found a way to surge the C's back into it. He carried that energy over into the second half, where the rest of the team, most notably IT, took the reins.
- Avery Bradley sat out with a sore achilles, no word on timetable.
- Celtics continue their streak of 17+ three pointers in a game. Now at four straight games. Record is five.
- Marcus Smart set his season high in points with 22.
- A fun highlight from Smart's marquee game:
Marcus Smart playing HORSE vs the Pelicans 👀 https://t.co/DL6dP59XlU— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 8, 2017
The Celtics came out of the gate like a lethargic horse that didn't know it was a race.
Anthony Davis and the Pelicans jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead by stretching the defense. First field goal came from Davis on a deep two, followed by a three from the rookie Buddy Hield. The C's found a bit of momentum to strike back with a run of their own, but the quarter was defined by runs. The key to the Celtics runs? Marcus Smart's insane first half on both ends of the floor. Perfectly summed up by his theft of Davis and finish on the other end:
Marcus Smart strips AD and takes it the other way for the and-one bucket! 💪 pic.twitter.com/C2jHydLXFI— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 8, 2017
Multiple times the Celtics worked their way back into the game, climbing to within one or two, but the Pels didn't stand for it. An easy layup by Kelly Olynyk (12 pts, 4 reb, 4 ast) with 5:39 left in the first brought the C's to within one, but it was the last bucket Boston knocked down for two and a half minutes. During that time the Pelicans were able to rebuild a ten point lead.
Trailing by ten, Smart decided to put the team onto his shoulders and rattled off five points in the closing minutes of the quarter to claw the C's back into the ballgame. After one, 31-28 Pelicans.
Marcus Smart has been a wonder so far tonight.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) January 8, 2017
Smart continued his dominance in the second frame, and guided the C's when others couldn't find their offense. Horford in particular was struggling from the floor, shooting just 1-for-8 in the first half.
Al Horford apparently used all of his bullets last night. He's shooting blanks tonight. But I trust that he'll figure it out by end of game.— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) January 8, 2017
The key to the run, though? What else besides Marcus' defense:
Marcus Smart just pretty much defended an entire 24-second violation out of Buddy Hield and Anthony Davis, then hit a 3. #Takeover #Celtics— Scott Souza (@Scott_Souza) January 8, 2017
That defensive stop was in the midst of a nasty 15-2 run that pulled the Celtics ahead of the Pelicans that was in large part due to outside shooting. It's 57-51 C's at this point.
The Celtics are raining 3-pointers (#RaininJs?) on another really good defense, guys.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) January 8, 2017
The Pelicans were only able to tack on one more basket before the end of the half, and Smart missed his first shot of the night on a deeeeeep three that was mostly just a heave, and the C's head to the locker room up 57-53 at the half.
Boston didn't let off the gas coming out of the half. The break couldn't phase Smart who remained unstoppable in the third.
It's the Marcus Smart show tonight ladies and gentlemen.— Brian Robb (@CelticsHub) January 8, 2017
You thought there was going to be someone else to talk about this quarter, didn't you? Well. Isaiah Thomas decided he wanted in on the scoring in the third frame, so there was a bit of a reprieve from Smart's game. IT shot 4-for-5 in the third, going 2-for-3 from deep. He also had this slick play:
But the Pelicans couldn't escape Marcus for long, and when he was back on the court...
Marcus Smart from downtown, AND the foul! He's putting on a 3-point shooting exhibition tonight 👌 pic.twitter.com/3X7pjHA7BK— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 8, 2017
MARCUS SMART AND-ONE THREE AND HE IS BURNING DOWN THE PELICANS WHERE HAVE YOU GONE BRICKS THIS IS WEIRD— Jay King (@ByJayKing) January 8, 2017
Smart and Thomas combined for 19 of the 36 points in the third, and the Celtics built their lead to 20 heading into the fourth, 93-73, Boston.Marcus Smart might be a 35 percent 3-point shooter for the season by the end of this night.— Brian Robb (@CelticsHub) January 8, 2017
With their first 20 point lead at the TD Garden since November, the Celtics didn't slow down. Especially Isaiah:
After hitting just 3 of his first 10 shots, Isaiah Thomas is 6 of his last 7. He has 26 points. Celtics up 101-83 with 9:12 to go.— Scott Souza (@Scott_Souza) January 8, 2017
Horford continued to struggle from the floor, but Olynyk and Gerald Green stepped up on the offensive end. Green didn't record a field goal in the second half, but knocked down five free throws.
IT4 (IT4th?) was true to his nature and poured in BUCKETS in the final frame, including two back-to-back three pointers from each wing.
Isaiah Thomas is on fire during the 4Q! (What else is new?) Already has 15 during the quarter and is up to 36 on the night! #NBAVote— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) January 8, 2017
Meanwhile, the Pelicans slowly crept back into the game, but couldn't overcome the deficit and fell to the Celtics, 117-108.
Follow Topher Lane on Twitter, @Topher_L. Photo credit: Winslow Townson / USA TODAY Sports Topher Lane 1/07/2017 10:07:00 PM Tweet Edit