Nobody in the world could have predicted the type of season that Boston Celtics’ point guard Isaiah Thomas had this year…except for Thomas himself. The 60th and final pick of the 2011 NBA draft has been doubted his entire life, and that’s exactly what has made him into an All Star and the best player on the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Even as Thomas was well on his way to a historic season this year, the doubters were always there in full force. Everyone kept saying he reached his ceiling, and that there was no way he would be able to keep up the pace he was playing at. Again and again, IT proved the doubters wrong and it led to one of the most legendary seasons in the history of the storied franchise that is the Boston Celtics.
Isaiah Thomas averaged 28.9 points per game, 5.9 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and a 26.6 PER during the regular season. However, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Thomas was unbelievably clutch throughout the entire season, average 9.8 points per game in the fourth quarter to lead the Eastern Conference, including a 29 point fourth quarter explosion against Miami in December to break Larry Bird’s franchise record for points in a quarter. Thomas also set a career high in that same game with 52 points, which was the fourth highest total by a Celtic in franchise history. However, Thomas took it to another level in January. He averaged 32.9 PPG, the third highest monthly total in franchise history behind Paul Pierce and Larry Bird, and 6.9 assists en route to being named Easter Conference player of the month. That same months, the Celtics went 10-4 to take over first place in their division and Thomas was named to his second straight All-Star game.
However, IT4 wasn’t done yet. In February, Thomas broke John Havlicek’s franchise record of 40 straight 20 point games, finishing with 43 consecutive 20 point games before the streak was snapped against Atlanta on February 27th. In March, Thomas became just the third player in Celtics history to hit 200 threes in a season, and the sixth player in franchise history to score 2000 points in a season. The Boston Celtics finished the regular season as the #1 seed in the East for the first time since 2008, largely due to the play of Isaiah Thomas. That wasn’t enough to satisfy IT however. Criticisms of his recent playoff performances and the Celtics not being able to get out of the first round in the last two years provided plenty of motivation.
Despite learning of the tragic news of his sister’s death right before the playoffs, Thomas led the Celtics to a 4-2 series win over the Bulls in the first round. He then attended his sister’s funeral after Game 6 and came back to put up 33 points and 9 assists in Game 1 against the Wizards. He topped that with a mind-blowing 53 points, second highest in Celtics postseason history, in a Game 2 overtime win. The Celtics would go on to win the series in 7 games to reach their first Eastern Conference Finals since 2012. In Game 2, Thomas injured his hip which ended his season, but it will go down as one of the greatest in Celtics history.
From all of Celtics nation, thank you Isaiah Thomas for an incredible and inspirational season of basketball.