Isaiah Thomas went into Saturday’s game with a swollen left middle figure injury from the night before that you could see was a problem for Thomas most of the night.
But in the fourth quarter, injury or no injury, Thomas was determined to come through for the Celtics.
That’s exactly what he did, scoring 12 of Boston’s 14 points and the final 8 in leading the Celtics to a 105-99 victory over Indiana.
Thomas, who missed all four of his shots in the first half, finished with a game-high 23 points.
“That’s what the game is all about,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley. “In the fourth quarter, he does a lot of other things for our team as far as creating shots for other people and his leadership.”
Thomas said he thought the injury occurred in the third quarter of Boston’s blowout win against New York on Friday night.
Despite feeling the pain on every shot he took, Thomas said he has no plans of sitting out Monday’s game at New Orleans.
“I‘m gonna play,” said Thomas who had X-rays taken that came back negative. “I just have to figure out how to shoot. I couldn’t feel the ball (on Saturday) so I didn’t shoot it as good or as much as I (usually) do. For the next couple of days, figure out what I can do and adjust my shot and get comfortable with it until the swelling goes down.”
Thomas generated a lot of his offense from the free throw line, which he said he’s already figured out how to shoot from there.
But as much as it pained him physically when he took shots, it would have hurt even more if he couldn’t come through for his team in the decisive fourth quarter.
“That’s what I dream of,” Thomas said. “When the game’s on the line I want the ball in my hand no matter the situation is. And I know my team wants me to have the ball in my hands. If i’m out there not being myself I’m hurting my team. My guys put me in position that fourth quarter to be aggressive, come off screens, try to make plays. I just took what the defense gave me.”
And in doing so, helped propel the Celtics (5-4) to a big road win.
“Isaiah was fortunate enough to make some shots in the fourth quarter and it really helped our team finish the game out,” Bradley said.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Saturday night’s game:
Isaiah Thomas: A sprained left middle finger injury certainly made life tougher than usual for Thomas, but the Celtics’ leading scorer stepped up when they needed him most. Thomas had 12 of his team-high 23 points in the fourth quarter after missing all four of his field goal attempts in the first half.
Avery Bradley: it was once again another solid performance for Bradley who had 13 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals all the while guarding the best perimeter scorer.
Myles Turner: One of the most promising young big men in the NBA, Turner continues to turn heads with his knack for scoring, rebounding and playing good defense. He finished Saturday’s game with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocked shots.
James Young: The last man on the roster came up with a first-rate performance that was one of the keys to Boston’s victory. Young scored a season-high 12 points (one shy of tying his career high) on 5-for-6 shooting, not to mention a bunch of hustle plays that Boston absolutely had to have to get the win.
Jeff Teague: Boston did a good job of making it a rough night for Teague in terms of shooting from the field (4-for-15). But he did manage to get to the free throw line a lot, which helped him finish with a team-high 20 points before he fouled out in the fourth.
Kelly Olynyk: You wouldn’t know this guy has played three games after having been out of action for six months prior to that. Saturday was another strong night for the 7-footer who scored 16 points to go with 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Boston’s First Quarter Defense: Boston once again struggled to get stops in the first quarter. Indiana shot 56.5 percent from the floor in the first quarter which helped propel them to a 31-24 lead after the game’s first 12 minutes.