Isaiah Thomas drops career-high 44 as Celtics overcome cold start to outlast Grizzlies in OT
Isaiah Thomas scored 36 of his career-high 44 in the second half to lead the Celtics comeback win over the Grizzlies. AP

ISAIAH Thomas scorched hot in the second half after a cold start to drop a career-high 44 as the Boston Celtics fought back from 17 points down to outlast the Memphis Grizzlies in overtime, 112-109, at the FedEx Forum on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time).

Thomas and Al Horford came up clutch in the overtime period, combining for 11 of Boston’s 15 points in extra time to cap the Celtics comeback from a 17-point deficit in the third and hold off the Grizzlies in a thrilling endgame.

Boston got shackled in the first half, ending up with just 31 points at the break compared to Memphis’ 45. But Thomas and the Celtics found their rhythm in the second half, with the Boston spitfire guard knocking down six triples and scoring 36 points after halftime to lead the comeback.

Thomas scored 12 points, including three of his career-best seven triples, in a 16-7 blitz to start the fourth quarter for the Celtics and tie the game at 78 with 7:52 remaining in regulation. Mike Conley went on a 7-0 tear on his own but Boston stormed back to take the lead 86-85 at the 4:16 mark.

Conley and Thomas went on a scoring duel in the closing two minutes of the fourth, with Thomas’ free throws tying the count at 97 with 27 ticks left before Marc Gasol and Al Horford missed on their attempts to win the game in regulation.

Tony Allen gave Memphis its last taste of the lead with a jumper to put the Grizzlies up 106-105 with 1:09 to go. Thomas drew a foul and sank both free throws in the next play, then Horford scored inside the paint to regain control for the Celtics, 109-106.

Thomas finished off the win with two big free throws to put Boston up for good, 112-107, with just five seconds left.

Thomas hit 10-of-16 shots and all 17 free throws to set his new personal best. Horford came up with 17 points and 14 rebounds for Boston, winners of three straight to improve to 16-12. Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder added 16 and 13 markers, respectively.

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Marc Gasol and Troy Daniels led the Grizzlies with 24 points apiece, but Memphis lost its third game in a row to fall to 18-12. Conley chipped in 19 markers and eight assists. 

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