BOSTON (CBS) — For all the drama that surrounded Isaiah Thomas’ return to Boston, everyone seemed to be pretty happy to have “The Little Guy” back in the TD Garden on Wednesday.

Thomas didn’t play, but was on the Cleveland bench as the Celtics beat the Cavaliers 102-88 on Wednesday evening. He started in the locker room but made his way to the bench during the first quarter, and received a rousing ovation from Boston fans when he was shown on the jumbotron.

“[The fans] showed their true colors, like they always do, and that’s — I keep saying it, but it’s genuine love on both sides. The fans are everything here,” Thomas said after the game.

Thomas sat out Wednesday night after making his Cavaliers debut on Tuesday, scoring 17 points in 19 minutes off the bench after a nearly eight-month recovery from a hip injury. He’s had quite a lot to say since the Celtics sent him to Cleveland along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the 2018 Brooklyn Nets first-round pick for Kyrie Irving over the summer, and not all of it was very kind in reference to Celtics president of basketball ops. Danny Ainge.

But prior to Wednesday night’s game, Thomas said there are no hard feelings between the two.

“Have I forgiven Danny? He texted me last night, so yeah, we’re good,” he said.

There is one caveat, however.

“The only hard feeling is Danny didn’t send me no Christmas card this year,” Thomas joked.

Though it stung to be traded away, Thomas admitted that he has been keeping a close eye on his former team. He said he will always have a special place in his heart for those he shared the floor with for two-and-a-half years in Boston.

“I watch them a lot. I like how they play,” he said. “I love Brad Stevens. I love Marcus Smart, even though he flops all the time. I love Terry Rozier. I love the coaching staff. Like I said, there’s no hard feelings.”

Thomas was embraced by many of his former teammates following the game. While there seemed to be a lot of sour feelings heading into his return to Boston, there was a whole lot of love from every end of the floor on Wednesday night.

thomas smart Isaiah Thomas Receives Standing Ovation From Celtics Fans, Says No Hard Feelings With Ainge

Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart share a moment after the Celtics beat the Cavaliers at TD Garden on January 3,
2018. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

“I love this city,” Thomas said. “I love this organization. They’ve given me the opportunity to be who I always wanted to be, and I can’t thank them enough. There’s no hard feelings to anybody in this city or anybody in this organization. This is genuine love and that’s for the rest of my life.”

Thomas and the Cavaliers will return to Boston for one final regular season matchup on Feb. 11, but there’s a good chance these two teams will cross paths again come this summer.


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