BOSTON – Isaiah Thomas’ 22-year-old sister died on Saturday, so it’s understandable for him to be still grieving.
Although he played in Boston’s 106-102 Game 1 loss to Chicago, there’s no guarantee that he’ll suit up for the Green Team in Game 2 on Tuesday.
“Whatever he needs to do, he needs to do, and we’ll help in any way,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “If he needs to and wants to stay here, then we’ll be here surrounding him. And if he wants to go to Seattle, then he should go to Seattle. It’s his call; and should be.”
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As far as what Thomas will decide, Stevens made it clear that he has no idea and won’t seek out an answer, either.
“Those’ve got to come on his own time, and then we’ll adjust accordingly,” Stevens said.
Balancing the emotions of the night following the one-car accident that killed Thomas’ sister on Saturday, with the reality that there was a basketball game to be played, was among the many challenges the Boston Celtics players were dealing with in Game 1.
“It’s tough,” Boston’s Gerald Green told CSNNE.com following the Game 1 loss. “At the end of the day, it’s tough. We don’t wish this upon our worst enemy. At the end of the day, we do have a game to play. We need to be there for Isaiah as well. We all have to pull together at this moment right now, stay together.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Game 1 of the first-round series between Boston and Chicago.
He stepped up when his team needed him most, finishing with a team-high 30 points which included 15 in the fourth quarter. Butler also grabbed nine rebounds with three assists and a blocked shot.
An emotional time all the way around, Thomas managed to put his personal pain aside and deliver a strong performance for Boston. He led all scorers with 33 points, doing so on an efficient 10-for-18 shooting from the field. He also grabbed five rebounds and dished out six assists.
His play more than any other Bulls player, set the tone for Chicago’s dominant board game. He finished with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds which included eight offensive rebounds.
He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but he made a number of impactful plays at both ends of the floor. For the game, he had nine points on 3-for-9 shooting with six assists.
The Celtics never adjusted to his play on the floor, giving him a ton of open to lightly contested shots all game. He finished with a near double-double off the bench, with 19 points and nine rebounds.
We knew this would be a challenging area for Boston, but there’s no excuse for how easily the Bulls had their way with Boston around the glass. The Bulls finished with a 53-36 rebounding advantage which led to them ending up with a 23-15 edge in second-chance points fueled by Chicago’s 20 offensive rebounds.
He finished with a great stat line of 19 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. But this was not a good game for Horford; not at all. Lopez absolutely killed him on the boards, and got way too many second and third-shot opportunities to score. And while Horford has never been a big-time shot blocker, he has to do a better job of protecting the rim than what we saw in Game 1.
For most of the time he was on the floor, he was the best thing going for the Celtics offensively and defensively. He had four points while missing eight of his nine shots from the field. Fortunately for Chicago, Portis, Paul Zipser (six points, two rebounds) and Cristiano Felicio (four points, four rebounds in 14 minutes) picked up the slack in the frontcourt for Chicago.