BOSTON (CBS) — Isaiah Thomas closed out 2016 with the best performance of his career, dropping 52 points on the Miami Heat in a 117-114 Celtics victory on Friday night.
Thomas scored 29 of those 52 points in the fourth quarter in a game that was much more difficult than it had to be for Boston, but the performance highlights an incredible stretch the 5-foot-9 guard is on right now. It was the 18th straight game that he’s scored 20 or more points, the longest such streak in the league, which should be no surprise for a player averaging 27.7 points per game for the season.
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Celtics radio analyst Cedric Maxwell joined WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on Sunday’s edition of Sports Final to discuss Isaiah’s epic performance, and said Thomas does his damage when it matters most for the Celtics.
“He is surreal. You think about what he is able to do as a basketball player, here is a guy who can score in bunches and he does it when it’s crucial. He does it in the fourth quarter. He is a facilitator and sets the table early on, but when the team needs scoring, Isaiah is able to come through,” said Max. “It makes me think back to watching Larry [Bird], or Kevin [McHale] or Robert [Parish]. … You just believe that guy is going to score every time, so you can’t wait to get him the basketball.”
Despite his small stature, Maxwell says that the Celtics can build around Thomas.
“Are we away from that thing, ‘Can you build around Isaiah’ yet? People said you can’t build around a kid like that who is small. Yes you can, in this league right now,” said Maxwell. “It’s not about the fight in the dog or the dog in the fight; it’s what that dog wants to do at that particular time. Isaiah is a dominant scorer who can get it done, and the team and the city now believe in Isaiah. When you have that kind of enthusiasm behind a player, you can’t stop it.”
Maxwell discusses Boston’s need for a dominant rebounder to compliment Al Horford, and where the Celtics sit among the best teams in the NBA. Check out the full segment in the video above, and catch Sports Final and Sports Final OT at 11:35pm every Sunday night on WBZ-TV!