BOSTON (CBS) — Isaiah Thomas continues to be an incredible story for the Boston Celtics.
Thomas got back to Boston at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning after attending his younger sister’s funeral in Tacoma, Washington on Saturday, but the travel and emotional toll didn’t seem to take away from his dominance on the floor. The C’s guard scored 33 points in Boston’s 123-111 win over the Washington Wizards in Game 1 of their second-round series. He even lost a tooth early in the game thanks to a stray elbow, as Boston fell into an early 16-0 hole, but not even that could slow Thomas down, who calmly drained his next two shots to help the Celtics get back into the game.
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Monday morning to talk about the team’s current postseason run, with the C’s winners of five straight playoff games, and said what Thomas does both on and off the court continues to inspire those around him.
What makes Isaiah special is he leads with his actions and not just words.
“He is a leader and he is a guy who is an inspiration,” said Grousbeck. “It’s not talk, he just does it. It’s pretty incredible; from being the last pick in the draft to the MVP conversation and leading this team. He is fun to watch.”
There has been a lot of talk recently whether or not Thomas, who seems to be able to score at will despite his 5-foot-9 build, can be a player a championship contender can build around. Grousbeck knows it takes more than one player to build a championship team, but says Thomas is definitely a piece to that puzzle.
“I don’t buy the model of building around a guy. We’ve seen you have to build around three guys or a system. This isn’t to evade the question about Isaiah, it’s just to say you have to surround him with guys who are complimentary. He’s one of the most gifted offensive players and inspirational teammates I’ve come across in the 15 years I’ve been in the league,” he said. “He’s not the best defender, needless to say, though he’s been playing some decent D over the last three games. But you have to have a rotation of 5-10 guys who mix it all in. He can be part of that mix on a championship team, for sure.”
Grousbeck said he gave Sunday’s game ball to Thomas after his inspirational performance.
Listen to the full interview, including Grousbeck’s thoughts on Paul Pierce’s Hall of Fame career: