Isaiah Thomas took his game to another level on Tuesday night in the Celtics' Game 2 win over the Wizards with 53 points, including 29 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Thomas is a great scorer currently playing the best basketball of his career. He's also getting help from a pretty good source.
Thomas revealed on Wednesday at Celtics practice that he has been getting tips on a regular basis from NBA legend Kobe Bryant. The former Lakers superstar retired from the game last season, but is still making an impact, this time for the Celtics and not against them as a rival.
Bryant began helping Thomas after the Celtics lost the first two games of their first round series to the Chicago Bulls. Since, Bryant has been speaking with him regularly. Bryant has broken down how the Wizards are defending him.
"He reached out on behalf of my sister when [she passed away]," Thomas said of Bryant. "He wanted to go over film with me. He called me and we did it. He made me figure out a lot of things... He's just been a very helping hand when it comes to the film and figuring out what to do the next day."
The relationship has continued into the Celtics' series against the Wizards. Boston currently holds a 2-0 series lead on Washington as the series shifts to the Verizon Center for Game 3 on Thursday night.
"He's been sending me a text before and after every game since the first round. He definitely helps. He just tells me what he sees and what I should be watching for in film," Thomas said.
Thomas was surprised at the detail Bryant paid attention to.
"Mentally, he's just on a different level than anybody I've ever met. We were on the phone for 30 minutes. I e-mailed him my film and he watched every second, telling me what times to go to look at and certain plays and things I didn't look at when I watched film. Mentally, you can tell he's one of the greatest ever."
Working with Bryant has been surreal for Thomas. He's also received texts from Tom Brady, Floyd Mayweather, and Allen Iverson, a voicemail from Kevin Garnett and messages from many others.
But working with Bryant like he has is a dream come true.
"He's just trying to help out and that's probably the craziest thing that has happened to me," Thomas said. "I remember I was at home in Washington. I was on the phone and my mom kept saying 'who are you talking to?' I had to put it on mute and tell her it was Kobe. Then, she started tripping a little bit. That was fun."