No one knew how Isaiah Thomas was going to perform in the NBA playoffs.
Just a day before the start of the postseason, the Boston Celtics point guard learned his 22-year-old sister had been killed as a result of a single-car crash in Washington.
Thomas would take the floor the following night, and although the Celtics dropped Game 1 of their first-round series against the Chicago Bulls, Thomas’ 33 points in the contest were remarkably impressive.
Since then, Thomas has continued to shine for the Celtics, who evened their series with the Bulls with a critical 104-95 win at the United Center on Sunday. Thomas once again paced the Celtics with 33 points, and carried his team to their most important win of the season.
Thomas isn’t hiding from his heartbreak. The star guard candidly admitted how difficult the past week has been for him, but praises his teammates for lifting him up.
He’s even left his head coach at a loss for words.
Thomas’ awe-inspiring performances have been a consistent theme throughout the Celtics’ season. At just 5-foot-9, he averaged 28.9 points per game in the regular season and led Boston to the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed. Now, he’s continuing his heroics at a time when he’s at his lowest.
Thomas had led all scorers in the series, averaging 25.5 points through the first four games. And although he’s been racking up points throughout the season, it’s the way in which he’s doing so that’s leaving people speechless.
He’s a sharpshooter from beyond the arc, and despite his stature, he’s capable of driving to the basket and finishing in the paint. His versatility gives opposing defenders nightmares, which he’s fully aware of.
And while Thomas’ comments come as a prideful boast, they’re certainly true in the sake of the Bulls. Even when being guarded by an elite defender like Jimmy Butler, Thomas has proved he can almost always create his own shot, and more often than not, it goes in.
Thomas and the Celtics seem to have found a groove after dropping the first two games of the series. They’ll now return to a raucous TD Garden crowd for Game 5 on Wednesday, when the Celtics faithful will be eagerly awaiting another star performance from Thomas.
And judging from the first four games of the series, there’s a good chance he’s going to provide it.
Thumbnail photo via Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports Images