On Wednesday evening, the Boston Celtics defeated the Toronto Raptors in dramatic fashion by the score of 109-104 — overcoming an 18-point second half deficit to record their fifth straight victory. The star of the show, as has been throughout the entire 2016-2017 NBA campaign, was Isaiah Thomas — who finished the contest with 44 points (12-22 FG), 7 assists, and 4 rebounds.
First, the Celtics all-star lit up the Raptors for 16 points in the first quarter — scoring buckets that make you scratch your head as to how they actually went in.
To give you an idea of just how good Thomas has been in the clutch during the 5-game winning streak, he’s averaged 16.0 points, 2.5 assists, 57.1 FG %, 44.4 3PT%, and 100 FT% JUST in the fourth quarters of these games.
In addition: for the season, per ESPN Stats & Info, Thomas is now averaging 10.5 points per game in the final period — no player in the past 20 years has averaged more than 10 points per in ANY quarter. And finally: he’s now scored at least 15 points in the 4th TEN times in 49 tries, twice as many as any other player currently in the league. Oh, by the way, he didn’t even play (nor does he average participating in) the full 12 minutes of it.
Following the victory, Thomas spoke with Celtics.com’s Taylor C. Snow and credited head coach Brad Stevens for a vigorous, passionate halftime speech that motivated the entire team:
Honestly, Brad killed us at halftime … He yelled at us, and that was probably the most mad I’ve seen him. I think (Stevens’ message) changed the game for us, we just played harder than them, we got the 50-50 balls and I think that was the deciding factor in the game, especially at the end of the third and fourth quarter.
It is truly unfathomable that a 5-foot-9 human is able to accomplish things that Isaiah Thomas is doing this year — especially in today’s NBA where a majority of the players are physically-superior freaks of nature compared to most mortal humans. In terms of physique: Thomas is just one of the guys, and he has somehow, someway thrust himself into the MVP conversation as he continues to redefine ‘who’ and ‘what’ can be a successful NBA point guard.
Who would have thought that James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James would have been joined in the MVP race by Isaiah Thomas 49 games into the 2016-2017 NBA season?
Isaiah Thomas, that’s who…