Isaiah Thomas

Sue Bird wants the Sonics (and a couple NW legends) back in Seattle

Sue Bird wants the Sonics (and a couple NW legends) back in Seattle

April 13, 2008. It's a day sports fans in the Northwest want to forget, and I apologize for bringing it up. 

You see, that was the day that the Seattle SuperSonics played their final home game before the team relocated to Oklahoma City. 

Though it was 12 years ago, the wound still seems fresh for basketball fans in the state of Washington. 

To this day, fans still post highlights of The Reign Man and The Glove. 

On Monday, ESPN posted a random set of pictures on social media with a simple caption, "Seattle SuperSonics appreciation post."

The team may be gone but its fans aren't, and the post hit them right in the feels. 

One of those fans, Seattle hoops legend Sue Bird. 

Bird quote tweeted ESPN and said what every basketball fan has been saying since 2008, "Bring 'em back."

Bird made sure to tag two Seattle legends, Isaiah Thomas and Jamal Crawford. The two are both Seattle-Tacoma natives, and both are currently free agents looking for an NBA team to call their own. 

Thomas saw Bird's post, and he had a few words of his own. 

Kevin Durant is the only player currently in the NBA that played for the Sonics, and he has fond memories of his time in Key Arena. In fact, he has talked about wanting to bring the team back and got a huge ovation when the Warriors played a preseason game in Seattle just a few seasons ago. 

He's not the only player past or present that is in favor of a Sonics rebirth. 

Recent Hall of Fame inductee Kevin Garnett has said his dream is to bring the Sonics back. In an interview with Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press earlier this month, Garnett said, "If I have a dream, I would say that I would love to be able to go and buy the Seattle SuperSonics and reactivate the Seattle Northwest and get NBA loving back going into that area. I think it's needed and it's essential. Seattle was huge to our league. Not just Portland, but the whole northwest. I would love to be able to do that."


Former Husky Isaiah Thomas to give back to Washington community

USA Today Images

Former Husky Isaiah Thomas to give back to Washington community

From his hometown of Tacoma, to Seattle, where his No. 2 jersey hangs in the rafters at University of Washington’s Alaska Airlines Arena, Washington holds a special place in Isaiah Thomas’ heart.

It’s the community that has had the biggest impact on Thomas’ life and he wants to help his old stomping grounds in a time of need.  

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, Thomas will donate food from Seattle-based restaurant chain, Pagliacci’s pizza, from April 7 to April 14 to the main locations at UW Medical Center that have been impacted by COVID-19. 

Here’s a list of all of the locations: 

This isn’t the first time Thomas has given back to the Seattle-area. 

The NBA free agent, who has played for the Kings, Suns, Celtics, Cavs, Lakers, Nuggets and Wizards, founded the Zeke-End basketball tournament back in 2014 to give fans in Seattle a fresh glimpse of the NBA. 

Thomas often brings NBA stars like Zach Lavine, Jamal Crawford, Iman Shumpert, Dejounte Murray, Marquese Chriss, Terrence Ross and Kyle Kuzma to make some noise in hometown. 

"Gone in 60 Seconds" starring Isaiah Thomas

"Gone in 60 Seconds" starring Isaiah Thomas

Sometimes you go to a basketball game and see something special, maybe something you've never seen before. That was the case on Friday in the nation's capital when Washington Wizards starting point guard Isaiah Thomas was ejected less than two minutes into the game. 

Thomas and Carmelo Anthony tied up for a loose ball and happened to pancake a referee between them and the front row of fans. As Thomas started to stumble out of bounds he put his hands on the referee, slightly shoved him, and earned an immediate ejection. 

The shove looked harmless. In fact, it looked like more of a byproduct of Thomas losing his balance than it did a malicious action. Nevertheless, the play was reviewed and upheld, and Thomas was sent back to the locker room with 10:32 left in the first quarter.  

Keep in mind that Thomas was ejected and suspended for two games for entering the stands to confront a fan in Philadelphia on December 21. 


Blazers avoid big upset but Jazz don't -- magic number down to 1

Blazers avoid big upset but Jazz don't -- magic number down to 1

Some nights in the NBA, rested and energetic bench players are better than tired starters.
Go ask the Los Angeles Lakers, who helped the Trail Blazers cut their magic number for homecourt advantage to one by knocking off the Utah Jazz Sunday night. Or maybe even ask the Blazers, after they barely escaped the attack of the Denver Nuggets’ reserves in Moda Center.

The Blazers, trailing the Nuggets – who were without three of their top players – 105-98 with four minutes to go Sunday, but scored 17 of the game’s final 20 points to beat Denver 115-108.

And if not for Nugget Coach Mike Malone’s decision to use Isaiah Thomas for 23:48, including the entire fourth quarter, Denver would have most likely won the game.

Thomas – Portland’s Most Valuable Player, if you don’t mind – missed 10 of his 14 shots, four of his five threes and had no rebounds and just three assists.

The poor guy was playing in just his 11th game of the season and obviously wasn’t prepared for fourth-quarter duty.

“It wasn’t pretty, but I really liked the way we finished,” said Portland Coach Terry Stotts, picking out the only portion of the game he probably could have liked. “We made a lot of energy plays in the last two to three minutes to pull away.

“I thought Denver played with a lot of energy. Their second unit plays really well. They play hard together. They made some shots. I thought they outworked us for a good part of the game, especially in the second half. They got energy plays, the offensive rebounds, things like that, but we made the plays when we needed to down the stretch.”

CJ McCollum made it back in the lineup and played 24:39. Portland’s other starting guard, Damian Lillard, played 37:36, scoring 30 points on 9-19 shooting, including 5-11 from long range.

Stotts has made clear he has no interest in resting players until he has homecourt advantage locked up, which is close after the Utah loss. All the Trail Blazers need in the remaining three days of the season is one win or a Jazz loss.

Getting McCollum back was obviously a big plus for Portland.

“It’s great, because when he went down – I think he missed like 10 or 11 games – and to get him back and the way we played when he was out, a lot of guys had to step up and do a little bit more,” Lillard said. “I think the fact that it went well, it gave a lot of guys more confidence, It gave us other guys who we can turn to when we do get to the postseason who feel good about themselves.

“The trust is there because not only we believe in them as players but we went through it, having him go down and having Nurk go down, so I think it worked out just fine for us.”

The dynamics of basketball and the NBA make for some amazing outcomes. At this point of the season, all teams are worn down from the 82-game grind. Energy is at a premium and sometimes the big-minute players just don’t have it.

The Nuggets played Sunday without Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap and Jamal Murray – three starters, one of whom is an MVP candidate. And they very nearly could have won the game, even though their high scorer for the night, Gary Harris, didn't play in the final quarter.

In Los Angeles, the Lakers played without LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart – and upset the Jazz in what was almost a must-win game for Utah.

Resting players doesn’t always guarantee a loss at this point of the season. Sometimes fresh players are the best players.

(UPDATED): Isaiah Thomas will play vs. Blazers, but Kevin Love is ill

(UPDATED): Isaiah Thomas will play vs. Blazers, but Kevin Love is ill

UPDATED WITH CLEVELAND ILLNESS: At first glance, the NBA schedule has dealt the Trail Blazers a tough hand Tuesday night.

After an overtime win in Chicago Monday, Portland travels to Cleveland for a game tonight vs. the Cavaliers -- a back-to-back contest vs. one of the league's very best teams. But sometimes, the first glance doesn't tell the whole story.

Cleveland is facing a back-to-back, too -- and the backstory there is worth examining.

[NBC Sports Gold “Blazers Pass” premium-game Blazers streaming package for fans without NBC Sports Northwest – $34.99 – click to learn more and buy]

The Cavaliers' back-to-back features a trip to Boston on Wednesday night to play the Celtics -- a big rivalry game made even more heated by another matchup between the Celts' Kyrie Irving and his former team. The Trail Blazers' best hope would be that Cleveland is looking past this home game against Portland to that contest against the Celtics. The Cavaliers are also on a three-game losing streak, although those were road games and the Cavs have won 12 straight home contests.

Tuesday also will mark the season debut of Boston guard Isaiah Thomas, who has been sidelined with a hip injury. Is that good or bad for Portland? Thomas is expected to be on a strict minutes restriction against the Trail Blazers and will not play Wednesday at Boston against his former team. Often, the first game back after a prolonged injury absence can be a little rough, which would be another bonus for Portland.

Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers are expected to welcome Damian Lillard back to the lineup after a five-game absence due to a hamstring injury.

It's worth noting that last season at Cleveland, former Lake Oswego High School star Kevin Love was impossible for Portland to control. Love scored 34 points and made eight three-point field goals in the first quarter, the most points a player has ever scored in the opening quarter of an NBA game. Love is enjoying an outstanding season and has scored at least 20 points and hit at least three three-pointers in six consecutive games.

UPDATE: The bad news for Cleveland is that Love missed shootaround this morning and word is that he's suffering from food poisoning that has caused him to lose 10 pounds in two days. LeBron James is also suffering from a cold.

Coverage starts on NBC Sports Northwest at 3 o'clock with Rip City Live.


Once again, Danny Ainge proves he's not afraid to bet big on his own judgment

Once again, Danny Ainge proves he's not afraid to bet big on his own judgment

A few thoughts about the blockbuster Cleveland-Boston trade:

  • One thing I've always admired about Danny Ainge: He's got a lot of guts. He always has. He's totally unafraid. And in pulling the trigger on a trade with the team he's trying to beat in the NBA East, he's taking a gamble. In trading his team's best and most popular player he's making an even bigger gamble. And in taking on Kyrie Irving, well, he might be taking the biggest gamble of all. But he doesn't really care what anyone else thinks, he does what he thinks is right. It's the same as the trade he pulled off prior to the draft with the No. 1 pick. He thought Jayson Tatum was the best player in the draft and knew he didn't have to take him with the first pick, so he moved the pick. And he really didn't care what anybody else thought of the deal. The guy has had plenty of self-confidence and courage since the day he started playing basketball. I remember watching him as a high-school junior in the Oregon state basketball tournament and on the football field and marveling at how he laughed in the face of pressure. He seemed totally immune to it and probably still is.
  • In today's world, people running franchises who are willing to make a big gamble or controversial move without worrying about what fans or media will think about it are rare -- and usually worth their weight in gold.
  • Ainge has put a big burden on his coach, Brad Stevens. As well he should -- Stevens is one of the best in the business. But I think Stevens will need to be at the top of his game to find the kind of team chemistry the Celtics had last season. Irving, I've heard, is pretty tough to handle -- for his teammates and his coaches. Getting him to play the team game and keeping him out of calling his own number all the time might be a problem.
  • This deal has long-term ramifications that should not be ignored. Irving is four years younger than Thomas (who is dealing with a hip injury) and in better health. Most people in the league believe LeBron James is headed out of Cleveland after this season and Boston has positioned itself to be the next big thing in the East. Thomas has one year left on his contract and Irving has two years and a player option for a third. Ainge is making a move that's possibly good for this season but definitely good for the seasons after that.
  • Thomas is 5-9 and often listed at 185 pounds. He doesn't look as if he's within 20 pounds of that number, however. Irving is 6-3 and 193. Players as small as Thomas have a pretty rough ride in the NBA -- and I'm not so sure how long he can keep that slight frame healthy enough to carry the heavy load he carried last season. I certainly wouldn't invest in that body with a long-term max deal.
  • Kevin Love and Thomas played on the same AAU team in high school and I'm sure they will play well together. Cleveland will be OK next season if Thomas stays healthy. Of course, behind him is Derrick Rose, another player whose continued good health is no sure thing.
  • I don't know what to think of Irving and his desire to get away from James. But I have a feeling that PLAYING with LeBron is OK, it's just existing with him that's a problem. You hear stories about the entourage, about LeBron basically running the whole organization -- stuff that can't be easy on teammates.
  • The Celtics have reshaped their team coming off what was a very good season. That takes guts. But that's Danny Ainge.


Trail Blazers lose 17-point lead, and game, as Boston gets revenge

Trail Blazers lose 17-point lead, and game, as Boston gets revenge

The Trail Blazers’ chance to move into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot was thwarted Thursday when the short-handed Boston Celtics overcame a 17-point halftime deficit and beat the Blazers 120-111 at the Moda Center.

Isaiah Thomas had 34 points and fill-in starters Marcus Smart (18 points) and Jaylen Brown (14 points, 7 rebounds) carried Boston (34-19) to its eighth win in nine games.

The Blazers (23-31) fell one game behind Denver (23-29) for the final playoff spot in the West despite a season-high 26 points from Al-Farouq Aminu and Damian Lillard’s 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

Boston started the second half on a 10-2 run to take a 59-57 lead and complete their comeback from 17 down. The lead see-sawed for much of the third before Brown hit a corner three with 4.2 seconds left to give the Celtics a 77-76 lead heading into the fourth.

The Blazers were within 99-98 with 5:43 left after an Aminu three, but Boston pulled away, thanks in large part to Thomas’ 15 fourth-quarter points.

It was the first game for the Blazers without Evan Turner, who broke his right hand Tuesday in Dallas. Maurice Harkless started in Turner’s spot and finished with four points and four rebounds in 23 minutes.

The Celtics cut into a 17-point deficit to draw within 55-49 at halftime thanks to a streaking finish by Thomas. The Celtics’ point guard, who hasn’t scored below 20 points all season, started 2-of-10 from the field, but heated up by scoring 10 points in the final 2:30. His flurry led a 13-2 run to close the half for Boston.

Portland raced to a 32-22 lead after the first quarter as McCollum made his first three shots and Lillard hit two early three-pointers, which complemented the active inside play of Mason Plumlee, who had seven points and four rebounds in the quarter.

Boston played without starters Avery Bradley (Achilles) and Jae Crowder (family matter), starting Brown, a rookie, and third-year player Smart in their place.

Next up: Atlanta at Blazers, 7:30 p.m. Monday (TNT)


Trail Blazers end losing skid with overtime victory in Boston

Trail Blazers end losing skid with overtime victory in Boston

BOSTON --Thanks to huge games from CJ McCollum and Meyers Leonard, and a late-game spurt from Damian Lillard, the Trail Blazers ended their four-game losing streak with a 127-123 overtime win over Boston on Saturday at the TD Garden. 

McCollum had 35 points -- including 26 in the first half -- and Leonard went 4-for-4 on three-pointers and scored a season-high 17 points as the Blazers ended their four game trip back East with their only win. 

Lillard, who was limited to only 10 minutes in the first half after getting his third foul with 10:42 left in the second quarter, finished with 28 points, including a back-breaking three-point-play with 47 seconds left in overtime that gave Portland a 122-118 lead.

Later, Mason Plumlee, who missed a close-range shot to win the game in Philadelphia, scored on a similar shot with 24 seconds to help seal the win. 

Boston reserve Terry Rozier helped force overtime when he made a three-pointer with 8.4 seconds left off an inbounds pass. The Blazers tried to win it, but Lillard missed a fadeaway jumper off the front of the rim. 

Boston led 65-56 at hafltime after closing the half on a 20-8 run. Lillard didn't play for the final 10:42 of the quarter after picking up his third foul while the Blazers were leading 29-28. The Blazers fought back with two runs of 11-0 in the third quarter to take an 88-86 lead into the fourth. 

McCollum made his first five shots and finished 11-for-21 in recording his ninth game this season of 30 or more points.

But the surprising story was Leonard, who didn't play Friday in Philadelphia. The 7-foot-1 big man played 25 minutes and was a factor. He had two monster dunks and made all four of his three pointers, adding four rebounds to his night. 

Next up: Lakers at Blazers, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN)