Isaiah Thomas has been playing fantastic in his first three games as a Boston Celtic, averaging 20.3 ppg, 5.7 apg, and 4.0 rpg. Yet, coach Brad Stevens has yet to place Thomas in the starting lineup. “I like the way our two guys (Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley) are starting together and I like what he’s done off the bench,” Stevens told MassLive.com, “So is he capable of being a starter? Absolutely. He’s a good player. But we’ll cross that bridge if we need to.”
Going into Friday night’s matchup against the Charlotte Hornets, that bridge still hasn’t been crossed yet.
Tonight, Thomas will have to face off against a guy who was also just traded and is also having a great start to his season. Mo Williams has averaged 21 points, and 6.7 assists per game in his three games with the Hornets. However, unlike Thomas, Williams has actually started in all three of those games.
So, what has Thomas done to not deserve the starting spot? He averages 26ppg as a starter this year, whereas he averages just 15.3 coming off the bench. However, the Celtics are 6-3 in the month of February and it looks like things are just beginning to click for them, it makes sense for Stevens not to mess with that.
Smart is just beginning to be the player the Celtics wanted when they drafted him. He averages 9.8 ppg in the month of February, and his shooting has greatly improved. He is also helping Bradley become a better player. Ever since Smart became a starter, Bradley has been fantastic. It is smart to just let the two of them continue starting together, because it hasn’t failed them yet.
Jonas Jerebko, who was acquired in the trade that sent Tayshaun Prince to Detroit, showed exactly how much of a difference he can make for a team when given the chance in Wednesday’s game against the Knicks. In 21 minutes, Jerebko scored 20 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. His performance came out of nowhere after going three games without scoring a single point. Look for him to have another solid game off the bench tonight as he tries to prove how effective he can be.
We will see a great matchup under the rim tonight. Hornets’s power forward Cody Zellerwill face off against his brother, Tyler Zeller. Both of them are similar players. Both handle the ball incredibly well for their sizes, both are effective on both sides of the court, and of course, both of them have incredible size. It will be fun to see the two brothers defending each other and battling for rebounds. This should be a fun matchup.
With both of these teams battling for playoff spots, this should be a close, exciting game.
Prediction: Celtics 102, Hornets 99
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