BOSTON (CBS) – Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas got the start Sunday in the team’s playoff opener a day after his sister was killed in a car crash in Washington state.
Chyna Thomas died Saturday morning when her car veered off the highway near Tacoma and crashed into a jersey barrier.
The Celtics play the Chicago Bulls on Sunday in the first round of the playoffs.
Thomas led the Celtics onto the court for pregame warmups, and was greeted by a loud ovation from the TD Garden crowd.
Head coach Brad Stevens told reporters before the game that Thomas is “struggling.”
“When you see tough things that happen to people, this community rallies around them,” Stevens told reporters. “You can already feel that.”
Just prior to the National Anthem, a moment of silence was held for Chyna Thomas.
On his shoes, Thomas has “RIP Lil Sis” written in black ink.
Before the game, network television cameras captured Thomas sitting alone on the bench, wiping tears from his eyes.