BOSTON—On a night which featured massive momentum shifts, scrappy defense, hard fouls, and 40 points and 13 assists from John Wall…the emotionally and physically drained Isaiah Thomas stole the show in Boston once again.
Isaiah, the beating heart of the Celtics, put on similar performances in the regular season, but as Isaiah will tell you, “Legends are made in the Playoffs.”
Putting into words what exactly unfolded in Boston last night is a tough job. What else is there to say? Isaiah Thomas poured in 53 points in an overtime win, in what has become easily, the best Playoff Game of 2017. 29 of those 53 coming in his fabled and all important fourth quarter and overtime session against the streaking Wizards.
“What else is there to say?” Brad Stevens repeated in his postgame press conference. Nothing Thomas does will every shock his coach or Boston again. “It is unbelievable,” Al Horford said of IT’s performance. “I don’t think a lot of guys would’ve even played in this game, so it’s something special.”
Isaiah lost his younger sister only a day before the Playoffs were to start.
Isaiah took an elbow to the face in Game 1 of this series and lost a tooth.
Isaiah had over 6 hours of dental surgery before strapping up to play in a pivotal Game 2 on Tuesday.
Isaiah just dropped 53 points on the day of his late sister’s 23rd birthday.
Another chapter in the Isaiah Thomas story has just been written.
“There was no way I couldn’t play on her birthday. I wanted to win for her and I wanted to play well for her,” Thomas said.
Once again, Isaiah led the Celtics back from a double-digit hole in each half and took the entire game over in the last 17 minutes of action. Thomas was letting no one quit on this night.
Since dropping the first two games in the Chicago series, the Celtics have rattled off a very impressive 6 straight Playoff victories. These last 6 straight wins are tied for second longest in all of Celtics history, with every team left making or winning the NBA Finals. With 17 Championships and a franchise decorated with 40 Hall of Famers, Isaiah’s 53 is now second in the Individual Playoff Scoring Record for the Celtics (one point shy of John Havlicek’s 54 in 1973).
By no means was Tuesday’s game a defensive clinic by either side. Both teams combined to score 248 points in 53 minutes of play. Wall and Thomas were locked in a head-to-head duel which history will show to be an instant Playoff classic. Despite the offensive scoring outputs, the team which could hold their opponent in overtime secured a Game 2 victory. With a one point lead in overtime, Boston had to try to put the shackles on a scorching John Wall performance. In the end, defense would win the game for Boston as Avery Bradley, who had left the game with an early hip injury, returned, and picked Wall’s pocket and threw down a dunk to give Boston a three point lead in OT. Wall would never score a point in the overtime session as Thomas continued to rip the hearts out of Wizards fans.
Despite setbacks, roadblocks, and tragedy, this Celtics team is capturing Playoff success for the first time in 4 years and playing hard for each other. With a deafening home crowd, a rolling and inspired superstar in Thomas, and confident young guys in Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown, all bets are off this Postseason for this Celtics squad. The once proclaimed “weak one seed” have proved just who they are and how they can play on any given night.
The next step? Not letting Washington go up 10 in the first five minutes of every game.
Game One: 123-111 Celtics
Game Two: 129-119 Celtics