BOSTON — Isaiah Thomas paid tribute to his late sister China by dropping 53 points on the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night.
By racking up the second-highest total in Celtics playoff history, Thomas helped Boston beat the Wizards 129-119 in overtime.
After the game, he told the assembled media that despite a dental procedure on Tuesday, he had to go out and perform for his sibling.
“She would have been 23 today, so the least I can do is go out there and play for her,” Thomas said. “There was no way I couldn’t play on her birthday. I wanted to win for her.”
China was in a tragic one-car accident in Washington State on April 15.
His coach Brad Stevens was in awe after the performance.
“What else is there to say?” Stevens said. “There was a point today where he was not feeling good at all. He’s had a tough day and I thought he was going to really have to gut this one out. Not only guts it out, he ends up with 50. Pretty impressive.”
The Celtics have jumped out to a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals.
Game 2 appeared to have the makings of a post-season classic with Wizards star John Wall handing in 40 points and 13 assists for the Wizards.
The way things look and the final score can be a bit deceiving.
Washington seems to have left a lot of their heart back on the court in Atlanta after going seven rounds with the Hawks.
Both their energy and team play has been sluggish at points in the face of their current foe.
If they are to advance, Wall has to forget about trash talking with rap stars and refocus on getting the best out of his supporting cast.
If not, Boston will overachieve in the face of tragedy.
Watch: Isaiah Thomas Go Wild in Game 2