ATLANTA – Isaiah Thomas is worried.
And no I’m not talking about the 2-0 series deficit the Boston Celtics are in now.
Despite the struggles Boston has faced in Games 1 and 2, Thomas' confidence remains as high now as it was at the start of the series.
As for his teammates?
He's not so sure about that.
"I’m always going to continue to be confident,” Thomas said. “I have to make sure my teammates continue to have confidence in themselves.”
And while the 89-72 loss in Game 2 was disappointment enough for Thomas, there was an even greater concern about what Thomas saw as a group whose confidence was beginning to erode before his eyes.
“Last game (Game 1) we played confident. This game (Game 2), it was like some guys had their heads down,” Thomas said. “Coach (Brad Stevens) kept saying ‘stick together, stay the course.’ We have to do that. We have to do that. It’s the playoffs. It can turn around quick. I know our fans will be ready for us. We have to play better.”
And there’s little doubt that they will provide a much better showing of themselves in Game 3 and 4 in Boston.
Considering some of the historically bad statistics they generated in the first two games, they have left themselves plenty of room for improvement.
The seven points scored by Boston in the first quarter of Game 2 were the fewest ever scored in the first 12 minutes of a playoff game in the modern (shot clock) era.
But there is hope on the horizon in the form of returning home to familiar surroundings.
The second half of the season, the Celtics were one of the better home teams in all of the NBA. At one point they won 14 straight at home which is a franchise record for consecutive wins at the TD Garden.
And Thomas who has struggled in Games 1 and 2 shooting the ball, is likely to rediscover his shooting stroke as well in Game 3.
Thomas’ 21.5 points per game in the first two games against Atlanta, have come about on 33.3 percent (12-for-36) shooting from the field.
But more telling is the fact that the Hawks have jumped all over Boston at the start of games, and Thomas' scoring has primarily come in the second half.
In the first two games, 17.0 of his 21.5 points per game have come in the second half when the Celtics for the most part were fighting an uphill, double-digit lead.
But as important as his play is to the Celtics’ chances at success, he knows Boston can only get back in this series if his teammates also step up their game.
“We need each other,” Thomas said.