Thomas says Celtics support system has been 'really important' over last week

Thomas says Celtics support system has been 'really important' over last week

CHICAGO – Isaiah Thomas has done some amazing things as a Boston Celtic.
But when the day comes for the Book on Thomas’ career to be detailed, no narrative would be complete without focusing a bit of time on how he has handled himself this week.
It was just over a week ago on April 15 (the day before Game 1 of the playoffs) that he learned that his 22-year-old sister Chyna J. Thomas, was killed in a one-car accident.
Those close to Thomas say it rocked him in a way they had never seen before, which is understandable.
And yet through the pain of dealing with something so personal as the death of his younger sister while being in the spotlight of the Eastern Conference playoffs, Thomas has somehow managed to still deliver big-game performances which is why the series in now tied at two games apiece.
“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here,” Thomas said after Game 4, the first time he has spoken publicly since his sister’s death. “So I just feed off of what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me. Being here is what makes me sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times.”
But what he did to the Chicago Bulls was anything but normal in Game 4.
Thomas has 33 points on 10-for-21 shooting as Thomas darted, dipped and destroyed the Bulls defense at every turn.
Having been around Isaiah Thomas the last couple of years, Celtics head coach  Brad Stevens has a pretty good sense of what Thomas is like and exactly how much can he handle.
But what Thomas has done in these four playoff games while still coming to grips with the pain of having lost his sister, is nothing short of amazing.
“I can’t believe it,” Stevens said. “I tried to say that earlier this week. What he’s been through and the day to day stuff, it’s unfathomable how he’s performed on the court.”
In the most important game of the season, Thomas was indeed carrying the Celtics with a slew of big shots that played a key role in Boston knotting the series at two games apiece with a 104-95 win.
But in this time of grieving, he readily admits that it has been the Celtics family – coaches, front-office, teammates and of course, the fans – that has helped him get through what has been an emotionally-draining week.
“They’ve been really important,” said Thomas. “They’ve been everything. This organization is the best organization there is, from the people who work in the Garden, the players, coaches, everybody who is a part of the Celtics ... They have been supportive; the whole world has.”

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

NBC Sports Boston Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

1:31 - With the results of Kyrie Irving’s second opinion on he knee looming, the Celtic’s season is certainly up in the air. A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Mannix, Kyle Draper and Gary Tanguay debate how and if Kyrie should be used if he returns.

6:02 - Back in October Michael Felger prematurely said the Bruins season was over. The B’s marketing team featured Felger in an ad for playoff tickets now that the Bruins have clinched the playoffs. Felger, Trenni and Gary react to the commercial and discuss the Bruins playoff chances.

11:47 - The Patriots are making moves! on Tursday the Pats made deals with LaAdrian Waddle, Marquis Flowers and Patrick Chung. Phil Perry, Michael Holley, Troy Brown and Tom Curran discuss how despite these moves, the Patriots should still be in search of a left tackle.

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

File Photo

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

BOSTON – We live in a world filled with success stories that came about by accident. 

The invention of the microwave oven.

Post-It notes.

The creation of potato chips.

The Boston Celtics’ game-winning play against Oklahoma City earlier this week qualfies; a play in which there were multiple miscues made by the Celtics prior to Marcus Morris’ game-winning shot. 


All these Celtics injuries have made Brad Stevens a mad scientist of sorts with some unusual lineups that may be on display tonight against the guard-centric Portland Trail Blazers. 

In Boston’s 100-99 win over the Thunder on Tuesday, we saw Stevens utilize a lineup with Al Horford and Greg Monroe, in four different stints.

Monroe, who had 17 points off the bench - the most he has scored as a Celtic -  enjoyed playing with Horford.

“Al’s so smart. He’s seen it all in this league,” Monroe told NBC Sports Boston. “He’s an all-star. Very cerebral player, unselfish. So it’s easy playing with him. He can space, drive, make plays. I feel like I can make plays, driving. It’s fun playing with him. I look forward to getting out there with him more.”

Horford had similar praise for playing with Monroe.

“Coach (Brad Stevens) made a great move bringing Greg back in, in the fourth, playing us together,” Horford said. “He made some great plays, passing the ball and just … timely plays. It’s one of those things, the more we play with each other the more comfortable we’ll get. I thought it was very positive.”

Monroe’s role has become significantly more important with the season-ending injury (torn meniscus, left knee) to Daniel Theis. And his ability to play well with various lineups will only improve Boston’s chances of weathering this latest storm of injuries which comes on the eve of the playoffs. 

And while there’s a certain amount of pleasure all players take in being on a playoff-bound team, Monroe understands better than most NBA veterans just how special it is to be headed towards the postseason.

In his eighth season, this will only be Monroe’s second time participating in the playoffs. 

The first time? 

That was last year, with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

“This is what everybody plays for, I hope,” Monroe said. “This is what I play for, to get into the postseason, make a run. It’s the best situation. I’ve been through a lot in my career, this year. I’m grateful. I don’t take anything for granted. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team.”

And he has done that lately.

Monroe comes into tonight’s game having scored in double figures each of the last four games, a season high for the 6-foot-11 center. 

Having spent most of his NBA career watching instead of participating in the playoffs, Monroe is out to prove that he can in fact be a significant contributor to a team that’s postseason-bound.

“For sure. You have to have a little chip, a little fire, at least in my eyes,” Monroe said. “I’ve never doubted myself. It’s about being between those lines and being the best player I can be. That’s what I’m focused on.”