BOSTON (CBS) — Just when you think Isaiah Thomas has done it all, he finds another way to amaze you.
Thomas led the Celtics to an incredible overtime win in Tuesday night’s Game 2 against the Washington Wizards, dropping 53 points — the second-most in Celtics postseason history. He scored 29 of his points in the fourth quarter and overtime of the 129-119 victory, nearly outscoring the entire Wizards team in that span (they had just 30 points over the final 17 minutes of the contest).
The continued dominance from Thomas just makes Danny Ainge’s 2015 deadline day swap for the 5-foot-9 guard (when he sent Marcus Thornton and a Cleveland first-round pick to the Suns) look even more lopsided. Ainge joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday morning to discuss Thomas, and even he is continually amazed at what “The Little Guy” can do night in and night out.
“He’s just jaw-dropping to watch. He’s had about 10 games like the game he had the other night this year, and it’s just incredible. How does he do it? I find myself saying that time and time again, with a big smile,” said Ainge. “He’s an amazing talent and he has an amazing will to win. He’s had a very special season this year, I don’t know how else to say it. I’m not that easy to impress to that extent, and he has impressed me many, many times this year.”
Thomas has always had a chip on his shoulder, being the final pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, but this offseason has been incredibly tough on him. His younger sister, Chyna, was killed in a car accident just a day before the postseason got underway, and Tuesday night would have been her 23rd birthday. To make the evening even more difficult, Thomas had to undergo nearly 10 hours of dental surgery between Monday and Tuesday after his front tooth was knocked out in Game 1 against Washington.
“I know how dedicated he is and how he plays through pain. Particularly lately,” said Ainge. “He’s gone through [the death of his sister], and then to go through the oral surgery stuff the other night — that is not embellished,” emphasized Ainge. “And then in the middle of Game 2 he lands on his face and hurts his teeth again. He’s never landed that way in his life, face-first on the court. I just went ‘no way, not again.’ It’s unbelievable.”
Ainge had a front row seat for Isaiah’s historic evening — at least he did for the first half. As a player, Ainge never held back his emotions on the court, and that sometimes returns when he’s watching from court side. Ainge didn’t agree with a few of the calls on Tuesday night, and let the officiating crew know.
It got so bad that Ainge decided to watch the second half from the locker room. He says it’s not often he reverts back to his playing days, but Tuesday was certainly one of those nights.
“The game the other night in particular, I had to sit in the locker room for the second half. I was not liking the way the game was going. Most times, no, but occasionally yeah, I revert,” said Ainge, adding that it was his decision to change his seat. “I just feel like I need to avoid a scene, siting the locker room and hang out with my boys who are cutting up the tape and watching replays. It’s a better view anyways.”
What makes Aigne so unique is he doesn’t rely on any foul language to get his point across.
“I just use normal words and normal language. I just yell ‘that’s a block!’ or ‘that’s a push in the back!’ My biggest frustration in the game the other night was when [Markieff] Morris grabbed [Al] Horford and threw him out of bounds. It should have been a flagrant foul and they didn’t review it. They didn’t even seem like they noticed it. They just let it go and that probably got me going,” he said.
Ainge also touched on Boston’s slow starts this postseason, Marcus Smart taking himself out of games, and if LeBron James’ antics on the floor against the Raptors would fly back in the 1980s. Listen to the full interview below: