BOSTON – In January, Isaiah Thomas had one of the most prolific months of scoring any Celtic has ever had.
It resulted in a 10-4 month for the Celtics.
As for Thomas?
It landed him the Eastern Conference Player of the Month award.
In January, Thomas averaged 32.9 points per game, which was the best month scoring ever by a Celtics guard. The only Celtics with a higher scoring average in a month were Larry Bird and Paul Pierce.
But as impressive as he was scoring in January, what was lost in his impressive month was the fact that he also averaged 6.9 assists per game, which was also his best month this season in that category.
Golden State Warriors teammates Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant shared the West award for January.
As good as he was in January, Thomas has gotten off to an even better start in February.
In a 109-104 win against Toronto on Wednesday, he led all scorers with 44 points, which included 19 in the fourth. It was Thomas’ second straight game with 40 or more points, and fifth 40-plus point game this season.
In addition to averaging 29.7 points per game, which ranks second only to Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (30.7), Thomas leads the NBA in fourth-quarter points per game (10.5). If he can maintain that average, he will become the first player since they began tracking that statistic in 1996 to average double figures scoring in the fourth.
Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey acknowledged that Thomas’ fourth quarter exploits are similar to what previous great players like Michael Jordan and Larry Bird did down the stretch.
“When it’s money time, those guys get it going,” Casey said.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens added, “He’s playing at a really high level. He’s doing a lot of good things.”