The Boston faithful were in full force Sunday night when the No. 1 Celtics took on No. 8 Chicago. Not because it was the first game in this year’s NBA playoffs for the city of Boston, but because of the tragedy their best player experienced just days before stepping on the court.
Celtics guard and MVP candidate, Isaiah Thomas, received the news on Saturday that his sister, Chyna, who was 22 years old, died in a one-car accident near Seattle. As he took the court Sunday afternoon, he was met with overwhelming emotions. During the pregame he was seen crying multiple times; specifically, during the moment of silence for his sister right before tipoff.
The crowd erupted as he knocked down his first field goal of the game, which was a deep three followed by a timeout from Chicago.
Many have questioned if Thomas will continue to play for the remainder of the playoffs, and right now it appears that the answer is yes.
“His plan, as of right now, and, again, subject to him changing if he wants, is that he’ll be here [Tuesday] night and then will go to Tacoma after,” Boston head coach Brad Stevens said. “So either after the game [Tuesday] night or Wednesday morning.”
Stevens and Thomas have been in constant contact since Thomas received the news. The players have also been a huge help for him along the way.
“It takes a lot of [guts] for somebody to go through that and still be able to come out and perform at a high level,” Celtics guard Avery Bradley explained. “Even though he wasn’t screaming or the usual Isaiah, he still went out there and fought hard. And it made us want to fight harder for him. We just made some mistakes that are fixable and we’ll have a chance to do it [in Game 2].”
Thomas finished with 33 points and six assists Sunday night against the Bulls.