The Celtics can't win close games, is Isaiah Thomas to blame?
The Celtics are 3-8 this year when the final outcome is within five points. In three-point games, they are even worse (0-5). ESPN's Marc Stein wrote the following about the C's in Monday's edition of his weekly NBA power rankings:
...0-5 in games decided by three points or fewer, which is the league's worst record in such situations. In the final minute of the fourth quarter this season, when the score is within three points, Boston is shooting just 4-for-16 from the field and has recorded more turnovers (three) than assists (two).
Isaiah Thomas is the Celtics' best player and No. 1 scoring option. But, he's just not working as a go-to guy in crunch time. This tweet perfectly sums up my thoughts regarding Thomas' late-game decision making this season:
Isaiah's shot selection in big moments is embarrassing.— Michael Dyer (@Mike_Dyer13) January 11, 2016
It came in response to what occurred in the final minute Sunday in Memphis: Brad Stevens called timeout with 33 seconds remaining and Boston trailing by three. A victory was still well within reach. Immediately following the inbounds pass, Thomas rushed a long two-point jumper (hoping it was a three), missed badly, and the game was effectively over.
After the loss, Avery Bradley discussed needing to get away from "hero basketball." Bradley didn't mention Thomas by name, but Isaiah is clearly the leading culprit. Per NBA.com, Thomas has a 34.4 usage percentage in "clutch" situations (the last five minutes of games within five points), easily the highest on the team.
While his overall numbers in those scenarios aren't bad, Thomas has not been successful with the game on the line--when the Celtics are tied or trailing by three or less in the final 60 seconds, he's 1-for-5 (0-for-1 on threes) from the field with zero assists and one turnover in nine minutes of play.
It's time for a new plan.
Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan