After just a day after the tragic passing of his younger sister Chyna, Isaiah Thomas suited up for the Boston Celtics in game 1 of their opening round playoff series against the Bulls on National TV. While the Celtics didn't play their best, or get the win, Isaiah was his usual self and balled out to the tune of 33 points on 10 of 18 shooting, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds in 38 minutes. Although watching just the game you'd think it was just another day at the office for Thomas, but the emotional toll taken on him was evident before tip-off:
A moment of silence was held for Chyna just before the team introductions and an emotionally drained Thomas even though he was in the building looked so very far away as he slowly made his way to the Celtics' huddle as a Rick Ross instrumental blared over the loudspeakers in their usual pregame ritual.
But when the game started Thomas was certainly there. He led the Celtics in scoring and was the catalyst on the offensive end. The Celtics were a +12 with Thomas on the floor Sunday night and struggled to create offense when he wasn't - something that's been an achilles heel all season but more particularly of late.
Celtics Coach Brad Stevens was amazed at Thomas' ability to contain his emotions and be his usual superstar-self last night. Via Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports:
“He was incredible,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “He’s an amazing, amazing player. [An] amazing person. Days won’t get easier for him, but he somehow plays like that.”
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Boston and it's unclear whether Isaiah will head home to Seattle in the meantime. Coach Brad Stevens said after last night's game that he's leaving all of that up to Isaiah and if he needs to be with his family that certainly takes precedence over basketball:
“Whatever he needs to do, he needs to do, and we’ll help in any way,” Stevens said. “If he needs to and wants to stay here, then we’ll be here surrounding him. And if he wants to go to Seattle, then he should go to Seattle. It’s his call, and it should be. I told him [I’m] not going to ask him or make him make those decisions. Those have got to come on his own time, and then we’ll adjust accordingly.”
Should the Celtics be without Thomas for Tuesday's game that would likely not bode well for a team struggling to create offense when he's off the floor for minutes at a time, never mind an entire game. As much as I'd love to see Isaiah on the court Tuesday night I wouldn't fault him one bit for taking some time to grieve with his family. I imagine we'll get a better idea sometime later today whether he's going to give it a go or not.
Photo Credit - Yahoo Sports/AP Photo
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401 Mark Allison 4/17/2017 10:22:00 AM Tweet Edit