WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics got a bit of good news on Saturday with the NBA deciding to not suspend Isaiah Thomas for his first quarter run-in with Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder in Boston’s 111-103 Game 3 win on Friday night.
“It was the right call,” said Thomas, who had a career-high 42 points in the victory. “I’m really focused on Game 4, but I’m glad I wasn’t suspended.”
The Hawks lead the series, 2-1. Game 4 is Sunday at TD Garden.
Even after seeing the replay, Thomas said he remained confident that he would not face any significant disciplinary action from the league that would cost him court time.
After reviewing the play, the NBA announced that he would be assessed a flagrant-one penalty for the incident.
“I knew what I did,” said Thomas who added that he had not spoken with any league officials regarding the incident. “A slower version would like I looked at him and tried to hit him. If I tried to hit somebody I would have hit them.”
Thomas said he got the news that he would not be suspended from Danny Ainge, the Celtics' president of basketball operations.
Replays showed Thomas connecting with Schroder’s head while running up the court. It wasn’t clear if the league would view the contact Thomas made with Schroder as him throwing a punch which would have likely landed him a one-game suspension.
Instead, the league will assess Thomas a flagrant-one penalty for the incident, which came moments before each player was hit with a technical foul after Schroder fouled Thomas.
After the play, Thomas had to be restrained by teammate Jared Sullinger.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens wasn’t overly concerned about the incident, either.
“I’m just preparing for whatever you need to prepare for, for the next day,” Stevens said. “I didn’t know exactly what direction would be taken. Obviously, they made their decision and we’re happy he’s available tomorrow. There’s no doubt about that.”
Schroeder, who had 20 points off the bench for the Hawks in Game 3, was trying to put the incident behind him.
But prior to the announcement that Thomas would not be suspended, it was quite apparent that it was still weighing heavily on his mind.
“I just try to focus on the game tomorrow,” Schroeder said. “I felt bad last night, Tweeted stuff and thought about it. I tried to get over it, and try to win tomorrow.
Schroeder deleted his tweet regarding the incident shortly after posting it, adding that the decision to get rid of it was his.
“I still feel disrespected by what he did,” Schroeder said. “I’m still trying to win the game tomorrow and focus on that.”