Chicago prevailed on an emotional night in Boston, as Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas played the day after his younger sister, Chyna, was killed in a vehicle crash. The Boston Celtics are averaging 102 points on 43 percent shooting and allowing 106 points on 42.9 percent shooting. However, as a team, they discovered great inner strength and perspective as they stood behind their courageous leader.
"This was hard", Celtics center Al Horford said. We've got the game plan, we've got wondering what plays to run and things like that. He expected Sunday's game to be an emotional experience for his teammate.
"[Isaiah] was incredible - he's an awesome player and an fantastic person", said Boston coach Brad Stevens.
It was unclear if he would play on Sunday, and prior to the game television cameras captured teammate Avery Bradley comforting a tearful Thomas on the bench during the pregame shootaround.
Charles Barkley says Isaiah Thomas crying over his sister made him "uncomfortable": "I'm not feeling comfortable with him sitting on the sideline crying like that". 'We grew up in the same area. Thomas will likely have his emotions a little more in check than he did in game one and will be able to play a cleaner game. It says he's a true competitor. Or was the talking head speaking about Thomas not being in a game-ready condition to play due to his sister's the death?
Chyna crashed her vehicle when it drifted out of the left lane on Interstate 5 at about 5am on Saturday morning.
Added Stevens: "It's really tough when he's sitting there, and some of his family's back in Seattle, and some of them came here to mourn with him". "I felt like our guys really dealt with it the right way, but Isaiah is the one who I feel dealt with it the best". Barkley said he thinks Thomas appeared too distraught to play. We knew he was hurting. James said. "I got to know him the last couple years".
Thomas, miraculously, was locked in from the opening tip.
Dennis Schroder scored 25 points and Paul Millsap had 19 for the Hawks. Armed with barely 24 hours to process his grief, the Celtics best player chose to take the court to be with his team - and the 17,000 fans at the TD Garden. They struggled to produce while he was on the sidelines, however, as they were outscored by 16 during the 10 minutes that he rested.
Boston will have to limit Jimmy Butler, who scored 23 of his 30 points in the second half, if they are going to regain control of this series. "And no matter what goes on, we're always going to have each other's back". 'It just goes to show the type of player and man he is to go out there and battle through what he was going through for his organization and team'.