Isaiah Thomas – A Performance He Always Dreamed Of
Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas exploded for a career-high 52 points last night, giving fans flashbacks to the greatness of his namesake, Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas. Thomas was named after the former Detroit Pistons two-time NBA champion, and surely played like him against Miami.
Isaiah Thomas’ career-night came in a 117-114 victory over the Miami Heat, giving Boston their 20th win of the season. Heading into the 4th quarter, Thomas stood at 23 points—he finished the night with 52. The 29 points he scored in the 4th were a franchise-record. Celtics legends such as Larry Bird, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, and Paul Pierce have never reached that mark in a single quarter.
“The fourth quarter, it felt like I was in the gym by myself, felt like nobody was out there with me and I just was making everything,” Thomas told Celtics reporter Amanda Pflugrad.
His rapid-fire, high percentage shots electrified the Boston crowd with “MVP” chants echoing across the TD Garden. The 5’9” former 60th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft admitted the night “[did not] even seem real.”
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “It’s a blessing from God. As a little boy, I dreamed of being in an NBA arena and the fans chanting MVP, let alone being on the Celtics. All the great players who did it before me, it says a lot.”
Isaiah Thomas singlehandedly took out the Miami Heat—almost literally. Thomas recorded zero assists on the night and scored almost 45% of Boston’s points. His 52 points came on 15/26 shooting from the field, 13/13 from the free-throw line, and a career-best 9/13 from the three-point line. It seemed as if every shot that went up was going to fall.
“My teammates just wanted me to make plays; they kept setting screens, coach kept calling plays for me,” said Thomas. “Without my teammates, without coach Brad [Stevens] believing in me and putting me in position to be who I am, there’s no 52 [points], there’s no games like this this year, last year, or the year before.
“I’ve got to give credit to Brad [Stevens], the coaching staff, and my teammates, because they were like, ‘Go get 60.’ They wanted me to score, and I was just shooting the ball and they were going in,” Thomas finished.
Isaiah Thomas’ 52-point eruption was the most points scored by a Boston Celtics player since Paul Pierce’s 50 in 2005-06. Thomas also now has the fourth-most points scored in franchise history; Larry Bird leads with 60 points. Also, according to Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver, Thomas’ 52 points are the most by a player listed 5’9” or shorter since Calvin Murphy’s 57 points in 1978.
It is incredible to witness a man who was drafted last in 2011, has now turned himself into a top-notch point guard in the NBA. Isaiah Thomas certainly had a performance that will forever be remembered.