BOSTON – When it comes to finding motivation, Isaiah Thomas doesn’t have to search too far. Even after all the success he has had this season, and all the record-setting performances he has delivered, there’s still a significant number of folks who doubt him and what he can do in the NBA.
That is what on many nights drives him to deliver big-time performances like Wednesday’s 38-point night in Boston’s 117-108 win over Washington.
Like clockwork, Thomas timed his best play for the fourth quarter … his quarter.
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And once again he delivered a brilliant performance, scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter.
“He got them going,” said Wizards forward Otto Porter, Jr. “You can say that for sure. He got them guys open shots, and they were able to knock them down.”
And Thomas may have had a little extra motivation against the Wizards and John Wall who beat out Thomas for Eastern Conference player of the week and Player of the month shortly after Thomas dropped a career-high 52 points on the Miami Heat on Dec. 30.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he wasn’t sure how much, if at all, Thomas was motivated by losing out to Wall.
“I think that Isaiah had a heck of a month, John had a heck of a month,” Stevens said. “I don’t think you lose too much sleep over that.”
The same can not be said for Thomas who knew that it was Wall that beat him out for player of the week and player of the month recently.
“You know I’m aware of everything,” Thomas said. “I see everything.”
When asked if it motivated him, he responded, “Everything motivates me.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Wednesday night’s game.
Down the stretch, there was Thomas once again carrying the Celtics unlike any player we see in the East. He finished with a game-high 38 points, 20 of which came in the fourth quarter.
The Celtics spent most of the game trying to figure out how to contain Beal. They finally figure it out in the fourth, which is when Beal scored just two points despite finishing with a team-high 35 points.
He’s either been really hot or really cold lately for the Celtics. On Wednesday, he was red-hot shooting the ball, tallying 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting with four 3-pointers to go with five rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot.
Otto Porter Jr.
One of the league’s most improved players was at it again on Wednesday, scoring 20 points on an efficient 9-for-12 shooting to go with six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Al Horford filling up the stat sheet? So what else is new? He scored 16 points on 7-for-12 shooting in addition to grabbing a team-high nine rebounds along with three assists and two blocked shots.
Making the most of his opportunity to play with Avery Bradley (Achilles) out, Rozier was one of the biggest X-factors for the Celtics coming off the bench. In just over 25 minutes of court time, Rozier had 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting along with grabbing four rebounds while finishing the night with a team-high plus/minus of +19.
He’s battling an assortment of hand-related injuries, but it was pretty clear that he wasn’t going to help the Wizards too much on Wednesday. He finished with nine points and 10 assists while shooting just 4-for-21 from the field. He gets props for a gutsy effort, but you have to wonder if a healthy Trey Burke (he played nine minutes on Wednesday) might have been a better option for Washington than a truly banged up John Wall.