Boston Celtics win, Brad Stevens in as East All-Stars coach

Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange

BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas, who seems to know everything on the court, had no idea he had just come within two points of becoming the first Celtics player ever to score 40 points in three straight games.

"I didn't know about the three games in a row," Boston's little big man said after scoring 21 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter as the Celtics won their sixth in a row with a 113-107 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night. "I didn't know about it or I would have had the last shot. I'm glad we won, that's all that matters."


They did win, the game ending less than an hour after the Toronto Raptors lost in Orlando, clinching Boston's Brad Stevens' spot as the Eastern Conference All-Star coach.

Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue owns the best record in the conference, but he coached in the game last year and now Stevens and his Boston staff are going to New Orleans.

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"Well, first of all, it should be Ty Lue, but the way the rules work then it's the next-best record because he did it last year," said Stevens, whose team is 32-18. "But what's nice about it is there's no politics in it. There's no subjectivity; it's what your team has accomplished.


"I almost feel bad that I'm the one that's going; I'd rather have another one or two of those guys playing in it."

The win also allowed the Celtics to break a tie with the Lakers and take over the all-time lead in regular season wins, with 2,353.

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Thomas, the league leader in fourth-quarter scoring (10.5 per game coming in), scored his 37th and 38th points with 2:25 left but didn't take another shot. He was 6 of 9 from the floor in the fourth quarter and went 7 of 7 from the foul line in the game, making him 46 of 47 in the last four games. He has recorded 34 straight 20-poing games as he continues to charge at John Havlicek's club record of 40.

Reminded his coaches are going to New Orleans, Thomas, Boston's All-Star picked as a backup, said, "Yeah, so they should put me in the starting lineup.

"That's going to be good, that says a lot. Says we are winning and we're doing pretty good and to get there says a lot. I'm happy for them."

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Thomas raised his season average to 29.9 points a game. Larry Bird holds the Celtics record for scoring in a season, also at 29.9, but Bird was 29.934 and Thomas is at 29.891.


Asked about trying to stop the 5-foot-9 Thomas, the Lakers' Larry Nance Jr. said, "It has nothing to do with height. He's one of the best players in the league, period."

Jae Crowder added 18 points and six rebounds for Boston, rookie Jaylen Brown had 12 points and seven boards, Al Horford posted 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Marcus Smart came off the bench with nine points, seven assists, five steals and three rebounds.

Lou Williams led the Lakers, who lost their 11th straight road game, with 21 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter. D'Angelo Russell had 20 points, six rebounds and six assists, and Nance, still working his way into shape after returning from a knee injury, matched his career high with 18 points. Nick Young had 17 points and Brandon Ingram 14 for Los Angeles.

The Lakers, losers of five of their last six, fell to 5-23 on the road in the second game of a five-game trip. They are 17-36 on the season.


"I thought we were great to start the game," said coach Luke Walton. "Then it just kinda stalled out there in the second and we then were good again in the second half."

The Celtics reached 100 points for the 24th straight game, their longest such streak since doing it 32 straight in 1986-87.

NOTES: Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien was at the game and met with Celtics counterpart Brad Stevens after the game. ... G Avery Bradley missed his ninth straight game with a sore Achilles, and F Kelly Olynyk returned after missing a game with a shoulder injury. "We're still progressing at a conservative rate," Stevens said of Bradley. ... Stevens, on the teams coming into the game with 3,252 wins apiece all-time: "It's unbelievable. I think it's a unique enough rivalry that 100 years from now it will probably be tied again. They've got a bright future ahead and I like their young talent. They're a scary team to play against." ... The Celtics provided a handout on the tie -- saying the probability of the teams having the same number of wins is 1 in 8,292. ... The Lakers continue their road trip at the Knicks on Monday night, and the Celtics host Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. Pierce, who will sign a one-day contract and then retire as a Celtic before his No. 34 goes up in the rafters, is making his final appearance as a player.


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