By Brian Robb, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s been a busy two months for Isaiah Thomas when it comes to the franchise record books.
The 5-foot-9 point guard began to put his name among Celtic legends with a team-record 29-point fourth quarter against Miami Heat in late December, but he’s only built on that performance in the following weeks.
On Wednesday night at the TD Garden, he tied another record that only strengthens his case for putting together one of the best individual offensive seasons in Boston history. With 33 points against the Philadelphia 76ers, Thomas reached the 40-game mark for consecutive 20-point performances. That matches John Havlicek’s franchise record for consecutive 20+ point games, leaving the 28-year-old marveling once again to find himself among such elite company.
“I always say it: It doesn’t seem real,” Thomas explained. “For my name to be mentioned with such greats and Hall of Famers, it doesn’t seem like it should be like that, it means I’m doing something well. I’m just glad we’re winning on top of being mentioned with all these great players.”
The next target within the Celtics organization for Thomas on the scoring front will be none other than Larry Bird, for most points per game in a season. The Hall of Fame forward posted 29.93 points per game in 1987-88 and Thomas is a mere fraction of a point behind him through 56 games with a 29.88 points per game average.
“I’ve thought about it,” Thomas admitted when asked about Bird’s record. “It would mean a lot, especially with such great players that played before me, but I’m not aiming for it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I’ll be alright.”
Thomas also ranks second overall among scoring leaders across the NBA, just one point behind Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, and said he is “confident” he will be able to catch the Thunder guard. Whether or not Thomas makes up the gap, Brad Stevens recognizes what his point guard is doing right now is quite the accomplishment.
“When you know you’re getting 20-plus points from a guy on a given night, it’s pretty a special trait,” Stevens said. “It’s pretty special to know that. He’s been amazing with his consistency regardless of how he feels, regardless of little nicks and bruises and everything else. He just kind of keeps going. And he’s a tough guy, he’s a tough-minded guy, and his consistency’s been impressive. I think consistency and being able to do it every night is what separates – right? – the guys that, obviously you mentioned Havlicek, but the great ones.”
The most important part of Thomas’ numbers though is how well they are translating on the floor. The Celtics are 24-7 in their last 31 games, and just 2.5 games out of the top spot in the East as they surge into the All-Star break with more momentum than any team in the conference.
“I just try to come in and do my job and be consistent as possible,” Thomas said. “That’s what I’ve tried to my whole career, be a consistent basketball player and you know what you’re going to get out of me. We just try to keep that going and try to win at the same time with all these records you guys tell me about.”
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.