The Boston Celtics were excited to start the NBA Playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, however, Isaiah Thomas was struck by tragedy on April 15, 2017, just one day before Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs.
Thomas learned his sister Chyna was killed in a car accident. Once that news hit, all focus was on Thomas and the Celtics in this time of need. As the Celtics took on the No. 8 seed Chicago Bulls, all of Boston wondered if the point guard was going to sit this one out.
Thomas, with a tough heart after losing his little sister, decided to suit up and play alongside his teammates. As emotions flared through the TD Garden, fans met Thomas and the Celtics with a standing ovation moments before tip off.
Thomas scored the first 9 of 15 points. Boston fell short in Game 1, despite Thomas’s performance with 33 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds.
Throughout the NBA Playoffs, the Boston Celtics expressed love toward one another even on the court. Multiple players on the team, embraced Thomas and played hard to show he was not alone in this playoff journey. Despite losing the following game, the Celtics went on to beat the Bulls four straight times winning the series in six games.
After flourishing through the 1st Round, Boston faced John Wall, Bradley Beal, and the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. As the journey grew tough for the Boston Celtics, emotions were out of control for this young team, but their eyes were still on the prize — Banner 18.
After a hard-fought Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 1 win against the highly skilled Wizards, Game 2 was played on Chyna’s birthday. This was a game she was supposed to attend. The Celtics dug deep and played hard.
Thomas reached a career high 53 points; 29 of those points were scored in the 4th quarter and during overtime. He contributed his performance to his Guardian Angel watching over him.
Both teams suffered blows throughout the series; Kelly Oubre was ejected from Game 3, then was suspended, the Wizards won Game 3 and 4, and the series went into Game 7. It was here the Celtics grabbed the victory and moved on to face defending champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Celtics were the No.1 seed and the Cavaliers were No.2, however, Boston was clearly outmatched. After a devastating Game 1 loss in Boston, it seemed to get worse for the Celtics. Following a hip injury for Thomas, in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, he was out for the rest of the series. The Celtics were defeated in five games sending the Cavaliers back to the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
Although, the Celtics fell short on their journey, they exceeded expectations throughout the playoffs. Their dedication could prove a bright and promising future for the organization.
Written by A. Jonathan Seabrook
USA Today: Isaiah Thomas plays with heavy hear, but Bulls take Game 1 from Celtics
Mass Live: 2017 NBA Playoffs, Boston Celtics Vs. Washington Wizards: Ten Things to Watch
King 5: Chyna Thomas May have fallen asleep behind wheel, says troopers
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Davealevine’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License