Isaiah Thomas scored a career high 53 points in Tuesday night’s 129-119 overtime win against the Washington Wizards. Thomas went 18-33 from the floor and got the better of Washington point guard John wall, who went 16-32 with 40 points and 13 assists. The game went back and forth with both teams trading baskets until they reached overtime. During overtime, the Celtics outscored the Wizards 15-5 in the extra period including nine points from Thomas. With the win, the Boston Celtics have taken a commanding 2-0 series lead as they head into Washington, D.C., for the next two games. Isaiah Thomas will look to lead the Celtics past the Wizards and into the Eastern Conference Finals.
To say that Isaiah Thomas has had a rough few weeks is an understatement. On April 15, Isaiah Thomas’ sister, Chyna Thomas, was killed in a car accident. A heartbroken Thomas decided to play through the pain during the opening round of the playoffs instead of taking time to let himself heal. Despite a rocky start against the 8th seed Chicago Bulls, Thomas and Celtics were able to overcome a 2-0 deficit and come back to win the series 4-2. During the first game of the second round, however, Thomas was faced with a different type of pain which almost kept him out of another game.
In the first game against the Wizards, Thomas was attempting to break up a pass from Washington’s Otto Porter when Porter inadvertently knocked out one of Thomas’ teeth. Isaiah Thomas immediately gave the tooth to the medical staff, but there wasn’t much they could do with it. After the game, Thomas attempted to make light of the situation by joking around during his post game news conference. Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe quoted Thomas in his article about the missing tooth.
“I’ve always had teammates that I’ve always clowned them about a tooth being out, and now I’m one of them. So hopefully we can replace it as soon as possible.”
Prior to Tuesday night’s game, Isaiah Thomas spent six hours in a dentist’s chair receiving oral surgery to repair his lost tooth. Throughout the game, Thomas had a swollen mouth and could hardly speak, but still managed to have one of the best performances of his NBA career. On top of a sore mouth, Thomas had one other thing in the back of his mind during Tuesday’s win which made it even more personal for him and his family.
His sister would have turned 23 on Tuesday and Thomas felt he had to play for her despite any pain he may have been feeling emotionally or physically. Isaiah Thomas admitted that he had no energy leading into the game, but once he stepped foot on the court, he told head coach Brad Stevens he’d be ready to go. Following the game, Thomas spoke with TNT reporters and Chris Forsberg of ESPN quoted Thomas in his article after the game.
“My family, my friends — they just tell me to keep going. My sister wouldn’t want me to stop. 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.”
Isaiah Thomas had 53 points last night, leading the Celtics to a 2-0 lead against the Wizards. pic.twitter.com/OygTyOxIwO
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) May 3, 2017
Whether you are rooting for the Celtics or not, Isaiah Thomas’s story is a must follow throughout the postseason. He has been able to come over tragedy and pain to help lead his team to victory. Many people looking for a role model in today’s NBA can look to Thomas as an inspiration through his courage and strength to keep fighting even when things seem down.
[Featured Image by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]