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Isaiah Thomas jokes about his reputation for poor defense (vid)

Isaiah Thomas has the unfortunate but arguably deserving reputation for being one of the poorer defensive players in the NBA. But that doesn’t mean the Boston Celtics guard can’t eke a chuckle out of the unflattering label.

Thomas cracked wise about his well-documented defensive deficiencies with teammate Avery Bradley during a joint press conference following Wednesday’s 108-97 Game 5 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Bradley was asked about Thomas’ solid defensive play against Jimmy Butler on two key possessions during the Game 5 victory. The amusing exchange between the teammates, as chronicled by CBS Sports:

First, Thomas joked, a la Tony Allen, that he was “First-Team All Defense.” Bradley than started to praise Thomas, saying he was underrated, but Thomas quickly put a stop to that, saying “don’t hype me, don’t hype me” as he began to laugh.

“Don’t hype me” is a pretty good tagline, to be sure. Although the fact remains the Celtics’ defensive efficiency during the regular season was about nine points lower when Thomas is off the court (99.7) as when he’s on it (108.6). While Boston’s defensive efficiency has been better with Thomas on the court during its first-round series with the Bulls, it’s possible Thomas’ contributions to that reversal may be minimal.

The fact remains, however, that Thomas is on the floor to score, not defend. And much like scoring dynamo James Harden, the Celtics gladly will look the other way on the defensive end of the court so long as Thomas continues to pour on points.

And hey, with the Celtics no up 3-2 in the series over the Bulls after dropping the first two games on their home court, there’s no reason why Thomas and Bradley can’t laugh it up a bit over the former’s questionable defensive play.

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