Isaiah Thomas may not even see the floor Monday night in Boston. But he'll still be very well-received at his old stomping grounds.
The Boston Celtics dispatched the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday to set up a showdown with Thomas' Denver Nuggets at TD Garden on Monday. After the win, several of Thomas' former Celtics teammates already were looking forward to the reunion.
"It’s going to feel good to see him," C's guard Marcus Smart told reporters via 98.5 The Sports Hub's Brian Robb. "I’m really good friends with Isaiah, just like a lot of guys. For him to have the career he’s had and then go through the injury that he went through -- you don’t wish that upon any player.
"… It will be good to see him and hopefully, he gets the love he deserves."
Thomas returned from offseason hip injury just before the All-Star break but already has fallen out of Denver's rotation, failing to appear in the Nuggets' last two games.
If the 30-year-old's future doesn't look bright, though, players like Al Horford will always remember the past, like when Thomas averaged 28.9 points per game during Horford's first season in Boston.
"One of the reasons I came here (to Boston) was to play with him, and one of the things I always admire about Isaiah is his heart," Horford added, via Celtics reporter Taylor Snow. "Just leaving it all out there. It didn’t matter if he was hurt or there was something wrong. He’s a guy that loves to compete, that plays hard, that plays to win, and it was just a lot of fun to play with him."
Thomas still hasn't gotten his "tribute video" -- he was injured for his only other trip to Boston in January 2018 while with the Cleveland Cavaliers and requested the Celtics hold off -- so perhaps the C's will honor him properly Monday night.
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