Isaiah Thomas had a weekend that he will not forget for the rest of his life – for different reasons.
Thomas, still grieving after the death of his sister, was in Washington state on Saturday for the funeral services. He then got on a flight back to Boston, arriving at 4 a.m. for a 1 p.m. Game 1 against the Washington Wizards.
He proceeded to score a game-high 33 points as he led the Celtics to a Game 1 victory.
But that isn’t all.
Thomas did it with one less tooth than he had to begin the game, having a front tooth knocked out while attempting a steal during the first quarter. He calmly picked it up off the floor and trainers eventually popped it back in – only to have it fall out again later during the game. He played the rest of the game with a noticeable gap.
No matter what obstacles are thrown Thomas’ way – and there have certainly been plenty of them – he continues to power through. And because of that, the Celtics are looking to go up 2-0 on the Wizards tonight at TD Garden (8 p.m., TNT). A win would be huge for the Celtics, as historically speaking they are 34-0 all-time in best-of-seven series’ when leading 2-0 (the most series wins without a loss in NBA history), according to ESPN.
1. Horford’s impact
The Al Horford haters were very quiet on Sunday afternoon as the C’s big offseason signing finished with 21 points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists. Often times, Horford’s impact on the game doesn’t show up in the box score, but that wasn’t the case in Game 1 and certainly not the case for anybody who saw the game. Another bonus of having Horford on the C’s is his playoff experience. He came into these playoffs with 74 playoff games under his belt – easily the most of anyone on the team – and he’s showing that he’s more than prepared for when the stakes are raised.
2. Emotions in check
Everybody who has followed the Celtics over the last couple seasons knows they have a bit of a history with the Wizards. In short, both teams really don’t like each other. That adds another added element to the matchup where it’s easy to get caught up in the emotional aspect of the game, especially with guys like Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart. Smart got a little frustrated with his play and the officiating in Game 1, admitting to reporters on Monday that he took himself out of the game in the third quarter. When that happened, Horford sat down next to him on the bench to talk and perhaps show that veteran presence. Crowder, meanwhile, had a very strong game for Boston, finishing with 24 points, six rebounds, and a game-high plus-26.
3. C’s lucking out with injuries
It’s hard to talk about the C’s Game 1 win and not mention the fact that Wizards power forward Markieff Morris left the game with what appeared to be a severely sprained ankle. Morris was a plus-seven at the time of his departure, and Crowder and Horford went on to have stellar games in his absence. Will Morris be available to play in Game 2? He told reporters after Game 1 that he would be, but also said it was one of his worst sprains. And if he does play, how effective will he be? The C’s will need to prepare for another physical battle with or without Morris, as Marcin Gortat had his way on a number of occasions, finishing with 16 points and 13 rebounds.