Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Reggie Lewis, Larry Bird, JoJo White, John Havlicek, Sam Jones. Those are the names of all the Celtics who had scored 40+ points in a playoff game before Isaiah Thomas absolutely lit up the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night. Enjoy all of IT’s buckets in this highlight video:
At this point it’s obvious that there isn’t a single player on Atlanta’s roster who can guard Isaiah one on one. In fact, there’s hardly anyone in the NBA who can keep up with the 5’9″ lightning bolt. If you’ve been watching him the last couple years then you already know this, but now he’s finally becoming a world-known star. If you need proof just look at who he associates with. We all know about his friendship with Floyd Mayweather, and he stated in his post-game interview that he received pregame texts of encouragement from Allen Iverson and the original Isiah Thomas.
He’s even befriended some other local sports figures, as was evident when he high-fived LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis after a big and-one during the Celtics’ dominant first quarter. Blount also came up to him after the game to congratulate him.
Thomas got into a bit of a scuffle with Dennis Schroder when his hand may or may not have made contact with Dennis’ face and the Rajon Rondo wannabe decided to retaliate. IT was heated but thankfully Jared Sullinger was able to contain him. This type of intensity will only make him even more of a fan favorite in Boston than he already is:
He’s the biggest star that the Celtics have seen since Pierce and KG. We’re at the point now where the amount of number 4 jerseys in the crowd at TD Garden is beginning to outweigh the 5’s and 34’s. When it comes to sports, Boston has always loved the underdog type who defies odds and exceeds expectations due to hard work and extreme dedication. Tom Brady is obviously the best example. As a guy who was the last pick in the NBA draft and is always the shortest player on the floor, IT definitely fits that mold and has quickly become one of New England’s favorite athletes.
Game three was truly one of the greatest playoff performances in Celtics history, but as Thomas said in his post game press conference, he has a lot more winning to do if he wants to be considered a Celtic legend:
“I just want to follow in the footsteps of all the Celtics greats. I know that starts by winning, and other than winning, winning championships. We’re far from that.”
His skills are off the charts, but the most important thing about Isaiah Thomas is that his head is in the right place. He knows what he needs to do to earn his respect and he’s done all the right things so far.
Unfortunately you can’t rely on one guy to drop 40 every night so the Celtics will have to look to other guys to step up more if they want to tie up the series in game four. If Jae Crowder can find his shot that would be a huge boost.
Follow Jack Bardsley on Twitter @BostonsBigFour
Photo via CBSSports.com