The Fifth Quarter: Isaiah Thomas leads streaking Celtics past Clippers in OT thriller

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It’s officially time to start taking the Celtics seriously as Eastern Conference contenders.

We know all the negatives. They don’t have any stars, their talent level isn’t up to par with some of the other elite teams and they lose silly games they have no business losing — like against Milwaukee (21-32) and Brooklyn (14-40). 

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Yet, somehow, a collection of journeyman point guard Isaiah Thomas, overlooked small forward Jae Crowder and a band of middle-first round talent has won 10 of 12 games, moving into third place in the Eastern Conference at 32-23.

Boston’s latest win came Wednesday night in a 139-134 overtime thriller against the Clippers (35-18), a team playing much better lately with Blake Griffin still sidelined. Thomas led

the way with 36 points and 11 assists, and five other Celtics finished with double figures in points.

Jared Sullinger had 21 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Crowder had 19 points.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens became famous for leading less talented Butler teams deep into the NCAA Tournament, and he might just do it again with this Boston team in June.

Kyrie, LeBron spoil Kobe’s Cleveland finale

Playing against LeBron James in Cleveland for the final time in his career on Wednesday night, Kobe Bryant wanted to beat one of his rivals one last time. However, James and Irving had a different idea.

Irving scored a game-high 35 points with seven assists and James added 29 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds in a 120-111 win against the Lakers. Lou Williams led the Lakers with 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Bryant added 17 points.


Ish Smith with the fine dish to Jerami Grant:

Rajon Rondo with the nifty move:

Somewhere Chris Berman is saying … whoop!

Stud of the Night

Timberwolves rookie center Karl Anthony-Towns had another great game in Wednesday night’s 117-112 upset win over the Toronto Raptors. Anthony-Towns scored 35 points on 12-of-19 shooting with 11 rebounds and three blocks. The No. 1 overall pick has now recorded a double-double in nine straight games.

Dud of the Night

Two days after Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson hit a game-winning shot against the Nuggets, he put up an absolute clunker Wednesday against the Grizzlies. Johnson finished a 109-90 Nets loss with zero points on 0-for-3 shooting and four turnovers in just over 22 minutes.

Looking ahead

Pelicans (20-32) at Thunder (39-14), 8 p.m. ET on TNT — Emotions will be heavy as Thunder assistant coach and former Pelicans head coach Monty Williams lost his wife Wednesday night to injuries suffered in a car crash. Expect a moment of silence in Ingrid Williams’ memory. She was 44.