Isaiah Thomas’ 29 points, 15 assists send Celtics past Jazz 115-104

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BOSTON (AP) Isaiah Thomas had 29 points and a career-high 15 assists, and the Boston Celtics made 17 3-pointers for the second straight game in beating the Utah Jazz 115-104 on Tuesday night.

Al Horford and Jae Crowder added 21 points apiece and Avery Bradley scored 14 for the Celtics, who have won four of five and eight of 10.

The Celtics ended Utah’s four-game winning streak and beat the Jazz for the ninth straight time in Boston.

Gordon Hayward led Utah with 23 points. Derrick Favors scored 12 and Rudy Gobert pulled down 13 rebounds, extending his streak of 10 or more to 21 consecutive games.

Thomas, coming off his career-high 52 points Friday against the Heat, has scored at least 20 in 19 straight games. He added another personal best Tuesday with 15 assists, two more than his previous high of 13 against Charlotte in December 2015.

Thomas’ 3-pointer with 2:53 left in the second quarter started Boston on a 10-4 run that gave the Celtics a 54-45 halftime lead. Boston stretched the lead to 68-54 early in the third.

Shelvin Mack pulled Utah to 73-65, but the Celtics pulled away again. Horford started the run with a 3 from the top of the key and Thomas drove through traffic for a layup. Marcus Smart added a basket before Crowder hit his fifth 3-pointer of the game to put Boston up 83-66.

Utah’s only points during the Celtics’ run came on technical foul shots by Hayward, one for a 3-second violation and another when Crowder was called for a technical during a timeout.

Boston went up by 15 early in the fourth before the Jazz used an 11-3 run to pull to 98-91 on consecutive layups by Joe Johnson. That was as close as it got and the Jazz were forced to foul late, sending Thomas to the line four times. He was perfect from the stripe for the second straight game.


Jazz: Raul Neto banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Utah a 29-28 lead entering the second quarter. … Hayward and Mack were teammates at Butler under Celtics coach Brad Stevens. The 2009-10 Bulldogs clinched a Final Four berth in Salt Lake City with a win over Kansas State on March 27, 2010. … Boris Diaw scored 15 for Utah, and Favors had a career-best seven assists.

Celtics: Boston again tied its season high for 3s. Crowder and Thomas each hit five from beyond the arc. … Bradley returned to the lineup after missing one game with an illness. … The Celtics have not lost at home to the Jazz since March 14, 2008, when Utah won 110-92. … Thomas’ 52-point game Friday against Miami was the fourth-highest scoring total in team history. He set a franchise record with 29 points in the fourth quarter against the Heat.


Jazz: Visit Toronto on Thursday in the third of a five-game road trip.

Celtics: Host Philadelphia on Friday night. The Celtics have won eight straight over the 76ers.

Report: Michele Roberts to seek second contract as players’ union head

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Michele Roberts entered the NBA’s player union in a tumultuous time — long-time union president Billy Hunter had been ousted in a rancorous fight, the union felt adrift, and negotiations with the NBA on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement were looming (and players felt they had been screwed in the last CBA, following the lockout).

Roberts, the first female head of a professional sports labor union, settled things down. She cleaned up the union finances and made them more transparent to players, she worked hard to establish relationships with the players, and while she rattled some sabers with the NBA in negotiations, she also worked in a non-combative way with Adam Silver and team (unlike the Billy Hunter/David Stern relationship) and got a deal done the players liked without a lockout or labor mess.

Roberts’ contract with the union is up, but she is going to ask for a new deal — one she likely gets — reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

With an original four-year agreement set to expire in September, Michele Roberts plans to seek a new contract as the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, sources tell ESPN…

Roberts had strongly considered staying in the NBPA’s executive director role for only the length of her original contract — and expressed that to the union’s senior membership — but has recently decided to pursue a longer tenure, sources said.

NBPA president Chris Paul played a significant part in Roberts’ hiring in July 2014 and he has built a strong working relationship with Roberts.

Roberts also has a good relationship with the star-heavy executive committee of the union — CP3, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and others — making it likely she gets a new deal.

As for what’s next, at the front of that list Roberts is working with Silver and others on reforming the NBA’s one-and-done rule (it was supposed to be part of the CBA negotiations but was too big and complex an issue to fold into that timeline).

Neither the owners or players can opt out of the CBA for four more years (and if neither side does it runs a couple more beyond that) so labor peace will continue in the NBA for a while.

Isaiah Thomas rewarded on epic flop with offensive foul call vs. Heat

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Why do NBA players flop on defense? Because it works.

While there is less of it than there was a couple of years back — when the NBA made a big show about calling more flops and warning (then eventually fining players a pittance) for the move — it still exists. Case in point, this impressive one from Isaiah Thomas of the Lakers on Tyler Johnson of the Heat Friday night (hat tip AminElHassavag at NBA Reddit).

Was there a little contact, sure, but Thomas fell back like he was shot by the second gunman on the grassy knoll. He exaggerated the contact, which is the definition of flopping. Thing is, he got the call (the ref who made the call, from his position, might only have seen the contact and not necessarily the extent of exaggeration, but that’s where the other officials need to step in).

Not that everything went Thomas’ way Friday night.

Suns’ Marquese Chriss, Jared Dudley fined $25,000 each for knocking down Ricky Rubio


Marquese Chriss and Jared Dudley got off light.

There should have been suspensions involved for the cheap shots leveled on Ricky Rubio by the pair during Thursday night’s blowout Jazz win. Instead, the pair were fined $25,000 a piece by the league Saturday for this incident.

Rubio has a knee contusion from the incident Jazz coach Quin Snyder confirmed, however, Rubio is available to play Saturday vs. the Kings.

Dudley was given a flagrant 2 and ejected at the time, Chriss was handed just a flagrant 1 for his escalation. I don’t completely buy Dudley’s explanation here either — I think they were pissed Rubio stepped over a down Chriss to inbound the ball and made him pay for it — but he did own up to it being excessive.

So to be clear, if you throw a haymaker and miss — as Aaron Afflalo did recently — that’s a two-game suspension. But if you throw or body check a player to the ground, that’s just 25 large, no time missed. Players wanting retaliation will take note of that.

Roulette tables are less random than the NBA’s enforcement policies.

Check out Terrance Ferguson’s acrobatic layup vs. Clippers (VIDEO)


It was supposed to be an alley-oop.

However, Raymond Felton‘s pass was low. And not just a little low, a few feet low.

Oklahoma City’s athletic rookie Terrance Ferguson was leaving the ground as the pass was thrown, meaning he had to make an in-air adjustment — and the results were spectacular.