Like the Wizards, A. Sherrod Blakely has seen Isaiah Thomas at his best.
Blakely, who covers the Celtics for NBC Sports Boston, was at the arena on May 2, 2017, when Thomas scored 53 points to lead Boston to a 129-119 overtime playoff victory over the Wizards on what would have been his sister Chyna's 23rd birthday. Chyna was killed in a single-car crash shortly before Boston's playoff opener.
"I’ve never seen anyone ever elevate themselves under the absolute worst of worst circumstances the way he did," Blakely told Chris Miller on the latest episode of the Wizards Talk podcast. "That was a performance for the ages that I will never forget."
"I don’t think there are very many people in basketball or in life for that matter who could do their job at the level that he did while dealing with something that was that close, that personal, that touching, that impactful. And still not just do your job, but do your job at a level you’ve never done it before.”
Bradley Beal was also there that night as the Wizards' star guard, and now he and Thomas will share the court as teammates in Washington after Thomas signed a one-year deal with the Wizards Monday night.
Blakely expects the pair to form a strong backcourt partnership, particularly in crunch time.
“When you talk about the fourth quarter, I think a lot will be dependant upon the flow of the game," Blakely told Miller. "If Isaiah has it going, Beal has shown the ability to be a play-maker, something that until John Wall went out, people weren’t really sold on his ability to do that and do it at a relatively consistent level."
"I think him and IT will work well together because both of those guys understand that they both have that ability to deliver that fourth quarter dagger, but depending on how the game is going, one of them is probably going to be feeling it a little more than the other. And that’s the guy you really have to recognize and get him the ball. Isaiah loves the big shots obviously, but I never saw him as a selfish player."
Hear Blakely's full thoughts on Thomas coming to the Wizards in the player below:
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