Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Celtics 115 - Jazz 104: Isaiah Thomas, Celtics set offensive milestones in win over Utah
After scoring 52 points last Friday, Isaiah Thomas set a new career milestone on Tuesday -- dishing a career-high 15 assists while the Celtics tied a franchise 3-point shooting record en route to a 115-104 victory over the Jazz.
Utah pulled to within seven points inside the five-minute mark through the fourth quarter (103-96) before Avery Bradley drained a 3-pointer -- the Celtics' 16th of the night -- giving Boston their first double-digit lead since the end of the third quarter.
When Al Horford committed his sixth and last foul, Thomas reentered the game and was whistled for a foul that resulted in a pair of free-throws drained in by Joe Ingles -- making it a 10-point game (108-98) with 3:23 left. But on the next possession, Bradley nailed another 3-pointer that gave the Celtics a 13-point lead with 3:06 left.
From there, the Celtics were able to hold as they impressively prevented the Jazz from making one final run.
Thomas' big double-double (29 points, 15 assists) led five Celtics in double figures. Horford finished with 21 points, five rebounds and Jae Crowder also scored 21, including 5-of-6 from deep. Avery Bradley chipped in 14 points and Jaylen Brown added 10 points off the bench.
Gordon Hayward scored a team-high 23 points and Joe Johnson (17 points) and Boris Diaw (15 points) led in bench production.
Boston's 17 3-pointers ties a franchise record as the Celtics managed to do it while shooting 54.8 percent (17-of-31).
The Celtics found their offense early and often throughout the first half, shooting 52.5 percent in the second half as they took a 54-45 lead into the break. The C's were also hot from behind the arc -- where they made 7-of-14 attempts before closing out the half on a 10-2 run.
Hayward, Utah's leading scorer, was the biggest reason the Jazz hung around after halftime. He scored 19 points through three quarters before the Celtics took an 85-74 lead into the final frame.
The Celtics will look to make it three wins in a row on Friday when they host the 76ers at TD Garden.
Isaiah Thomas is only the fourth Celtic in 30 years to have a 25-plus points and 15-plus assists in one game. Only Larry Bird (3), Rajon Rondo (2) and Sherman Douglas (1) have reached such a feat in recent Celtics history.
Photo used is courtesy of Getty Images