BOSTON (CBS) — Isaiah Thomas did some homework prior to Monday night’s Game 7 victory over the Washington Wizards, taking in one of Boston’s most memorable Game 7 wins in recent history.
That homework paid off, too, as Thomas finished with a team-high 29 points in Boston’s 115-105 win, propelling the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
With James and the Cavs next for the C’s, it’s somewhat fitting that Thomas’ preparation included a viewing of the famous Paul Pierce-LeBron duel from the East Semis in 2008. Pierce and James went toe-to-toe until the very end of Boston’s 97-92 win, with Pierce finished the night with 41 points while James ended with 45 points (you can watch the full highlights from that epic duel on YouTube).
“I thought about it a lot, all day and night. I watched Paul Pierce vs. LeBron James and how special that was, two superstars going at it, guarding each other and it was a historic game. I definitely did my studying,” Thomas said.
Monday’s win won’t go down in Celtics history like the Pierce-James duel, but it joins a long line of success that Boston has enjoyed in Game 7s. The victory improved the franchise to 22-8 all-time in Game 7s, including a 19-4 record in front of their home fans.
With a tough series against James next on the docket for the Celtics, Thomas may want to brush off that old game tape once again.