BOSTON (CBS) — Even the Celtics themselves are running out of ways to describe Isaiah Thomas’ scoring outburst these days.
Thomas went off once again Monday night, leading Boston to a 113-109 victory over the Detroit Pistons with 41 points. He lived up to his nickname, “The King In The Fourth,” with 24 of those 41 points coming in the final frame. He scored 22 over the final seven minutes of the contest as the C’s held off the Pistons.
The 5-foot-9 scoring machine did it all in the fourth, hitting six shots from the floor, three from downtown and nine free throws. His three-pointer with 2:28 left gave Boston a 107-103 edge, and he sealed the victory with a pull-up J from just inside the free throw line with 1:47 to go, putting the C’s ahead 109-105. He hit four freebies in the final 18 seconds to cap off his evening, sealing Boston’s fourth straight victory.
“He was unbelievable,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said. “Again.”
It’s just a shame January is coming to a close. With yet another scoring outburst, Thomas closed the month averaging 32.9 points per game. It’s the fourth-highest scoring month in the Celtics storied history, with Larry Bird and Paul Pierce the only Celtics to average more than 33 points in a month (Bird did it twice).
Thomas has been etching his name in the Boston record book this season, but even he is amazed at what he’s accomplishing.
“That doesn’t even seem real,” Thomas said after Monday’s win. “It doesn’t sound real. So many great players who did it before me, to have my name up there with those legends is unbelievable. I’m going to just keep going, keep trying to catch those guys, and keep winning.”
Thomas, who will play in his second All-Star game next month, is now averaging 10.3 points in the fourth quarter, the best clip in the league. He’s scored 20 points or more in 32 straight games, the second-longest streak in team history behind John Havlicek’s 40 straight games.
With Thomas lighting up the scoreboard, Boston went 10-4 in January and now sit at 30-18 on the season, just 2.5 games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.