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The Celtics’ leading assist man is . . . Kobe Bryant?

Isaiah Thomas and Kobe Bryant go after a loose ball in a 2015 game.winslow townson/AP file

WASHINGTON — After the Celtics lost the first two games of their first-round playoff series against the eighth-seeded Bulls, point guard Isaiah Thomas got some unexpected guidance from one of this franchise’s former rivals.

Thomas and Lakers legend Kobe Bryant had begun to develop a friendship in recent years, and Bryant reached out to Thomas after Thomas’s sister, Chyna, was killed in an April 15 car crash. And after the Celtics’ Game 2 loss to Chicago, Bryant led Thomas through a private film session over the phone.

“Mentally, he’s on a different level than anybody I’ve ever met,” Thomas said on Wednesday. “We were on the phone for 30 minutes. I e-mailed him my film and he watched every second of it. He was telling me what times to go and what to look at, just certain plays and things I didn’t look at when I watched film. Like I said, mentally you could tell he’s one of the greatest ever.”

Thomas said he was home with his family in Tacoma, Wash., mourning the death of his sister when Bryant suggested the film session.


“My mom kept saying, ‘Who are you talking to?’ ” Thomas said. “I’m like, I had to put it on mute and I told her, ‘It’s Kobe!’ She started tripping a little bit. That was fun.”

Thomas said Bryant has sent him text messages before and after every Celtics game since the first round of the playoffs.

“He definitely helps,” said Thomas, whose father, James, is a lifelong Lakers fan. “He just tells me what he sees and what I should be watching for on film.”

So what, specifically, did he tell you, Isaiah?

“I’m not going to tell you his secrets,” Thomas said. “He wouldn’t want me to do that.”

No time to talk

Wizards forward Markieff Morris sprained his ankle when he landed on Celtics forward Al Horford’s foot in the second quarter of Boston’s Game 1 win and did not return in that game. He came back for Game 2 and had 16 points and six rebounds before fouling out.


Morris said on Tuesday morning he planned to ask Horford whether he had intentionally injured him. Before tipoff in Game 2, Morris approached Horford, but it was unclear what was discussed. On Wednesday, Horford was in no mood to provide details.

“I’m not going to give him any more play,” he said. “That’s it.”

Just 1 minute, 7 seconds into the game, Morris was whistled for a foul after taking down Horford along the baseline. Horford was asked Wednesday if that felt like retaliation, but he once again declined to dive into a war of words.

“Again,” he said, “I’m not going to give him the time of day.”

Bradley will play

Celtics guard Avery Bradley said he will play in Game 3 against the Wizards on Thursday despite suffering a hip pointer that caused him to miss two segments in Boston’s Game 2 win.

“I’m sore, but I’m going to play regardless,” Bradley said.

Bradley said the injury occurred when he was inadvertently hit in the hip by Wizards forward Otto Porter. Bradley received treatment in the trainer’s room after suffering the injury in the second quarter, then returned to start the third quarter before leaving for more treatment. He ultimately returned again in the fourth quarter and finished out the game.


Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.