Saturday afternoon, Chyna Thomas, sister to point guard of the Boston Celtics Isaiah Thomas, was killed in a car accident. At only 22 years young, it was a tragic loss for the star player and family. Set to play the first game in a playoff series the upcoming afternoon, it was unclear whether the point guard would participate.
Sunday afternoon, Isaiah Thomas was seen emotional, yet participating at shoot-around before the game. Just before game time, Brad Stevens was asked about his point guards status for the game.
“He’s going to play. One minute or forty, it’s up to him.”
Before tip off, TD Garden held a moment of silence for Thomas’ sister and in honor of her life. When announced in the starting lineup, Isaiah was met with a thunderous round of applause and heavy acclamation, showing Boston’s support.
Teeming with sentiment, Thomas was set to play what would go on to be a tribute game for his late sister. The ball was tipped, and you couldn’t tell the difference. Isaiah Thomas was out there playing like the dark horse MVP candidate he’s been all season. Early on, he landed a spectacular three that was met with an ovation at the Garden:
The Celtics were down two at the half, 48-46. Thomas led all scorers with 15 points on 5-10 shooting. Despite their best efforts, Boston would fall to the Bulls in Game 1, 106-102. The silver lining on the night, Isaiah Thomas had himself a game: 33 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds, all while shooting 56% (10-18) from the floor.
Regardless of the outcome, last night’s game was a win for Chyna. Thomas had his Kobe sneakers marked with “Chyna,” and “R.I.P. Lil Sis.” It says so much about the character of Isaiah Thomas, fighting through the weight of emotion and playing the night hard until the last second on the shot clock expired. Needless to say, for the rest of the playoffs, I’ll be rooting for this Celtics team, and Boston’s MVP.
Those of us at Booster Blogs would like to extend thoughts, prayers, and condolences to the Thomas family.
All stats and information provided by ESPN and NBA.com. Featured image provided by Jay King on Twitter (@ByJayKing).