Isaiah Thomas has been dazzling and amazing the basketball world this entire season. It haas become nothing short of expected for Thomas to put up MVP-type numbers and lead the Celtics to victory. After his incomprehensibly difficult start to the playoffs with the passing of his sister, it became personal for Thomas as he vowed to do everything for her moving forward. Thomas had traveled cross-country to Tacoma, Washington, for his sister’s funeral on Saturday and then, after arriving at 4 a.m., scored 33 points in Boston’s Game 1 win over the Washington Wizards on Sunday. This amazed everyone.
Then came Tuesday night.
On what was his sister’s 23rd birthday, Isaiah Thomas scored a game-high 53 points to lead Boston to a resounding 129-119 overtime win at TD Garden. Thomas refused to let this game get away from him and played arguably the best game of his season. IT ferociously attacked the basket, scoring 29 points in the fourth quarter and OT, in what became a spectacle for all those watching. Nobody had scored more than fifty points in an NBA playoff game since Allen Iverson dropped 55 in 2003. Thomas’ 53 points now trail only John Havlicek’s 54 in 1973 for the most by a Celtics player in franchise postseason history. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Thomas’ 86 combined points in the first two games of this series are the highest such output in NBA postseason history.
In his post-game interview, reporters couldn’t help but ask Thomas once again how any of this could be possible.
“My sister wouldn’t want me to stop,” Thomas said, fighting back emotion. “The only thing about it is, once I leave this gym, I hit reality and she’s not here. So that’s the tough part. But, when I’m in this arena, I can lock in and I know everything I do is for her.”
Rounding out the scoring was Al Horford who came out strong with 15 points and 12 total rebounds. Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley each tallied 14 points as well. The Celtics also added another 13 made 3-pointers, totaling 32 made so far in this series. John Wall led all Washington scorers with 40 points.
With the win, the Celtics took a 2-0 lead as the series heads to Washington on Thursday night. Boston has now won six straight games, dating back to their 0-2 start to their series with the Chicago Bulls. The Celtics are currently 34-0 all-time in playoff series when they take a 2-0 series lead, which spells bad news for Washington. Thomas, much like the rest of the team, knows that this series is far from over. Boston expected a dog fight and has no plans of stepping off the gas, especially once they are on the Wizards’ home court.
Thomas knows that great players and great moments are born during the postseason, and he hopes to join the likes of Boston’s greatest. “It’s nice to be in Celtics history with all the great players,” Thomas said during an interview. “But until you win a championship, you can’t consider yourself a great player. That’s what it’s all about.”