Thomas turned in a legendary game for the Celtics by carrying them to an incredible playoff victory.
Isaiah Thomas dropped 53 points during a playoff game in The Garden. He’s not a Boston Celtics point guard anymore; he’s a legend now.
In his 53, the most points scored in the playoffs since 2003, he scored 20 points in the fourth quarter alone as Boston soared back to force overtime. In the extra period, he dropped nine more. With each shot he hit, it felt increasingly like we were watching something truly special. When he did all that and carried the team to a 129-119 win to go up 2-0 in a second-round playoff series, it immortalized this moment.
And as if it didn’t already feel like a perfect moment, you can consider this, too.
On what would have been his sister Chyna’s 23rd birthday, Isaiah Thomas scored 53 points and willed the Celtics to an overtime victory.
— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) May 3, 2017
Boston will never forget what Isaiah did on Tuesday. Forget hyperbole; there’s no hyperbole when a 5’9 star point guard experiences family tragedy, literally loses a tooth a game prior, fights through a first-round two-game deficit, and then records the fourth 50-point postseason performance in Celtics history since 1964.
There’s no way Thomas’ exploits won’t be talked about in a decade, or in 50 years. Not in Boston, a city that values its successful history more than any sports city out there. Not when you record a performance that defies everything you should ever expect from someone drafted with the final pick in the draft six years ago, who was cast off from two teams, only to end up in a place that finally showed they wanted him.
Thomas won the game for Boston. They watched him take over a fourth quarter, dueling John Wall (40 points, 13 assists) to a standstill and then blowing past him with a flawless extra period. It stopped being a question of whether Thomas could carry them; no, Thomas brought them back, and once the Washington Wizards missed a potentially game-winning shot, Thomas might as well have marked the box score final right then and there. He was winning the game for the Celtics, and Washington couldn’t dream of stopping him.
If the Celtics don’t manage to win this series or something, maybe Thomas’ showing would be lessened. But this man dropped 53 points in the playoffs on what would have been his sister’s 23rd birthday. It doesn’t seem possible to forget this performance for a long, long time.