A day after learning about the death of his sister, Chyna Thomas, Isaiah Thomas opted to play in the Celtics opening playoff game against the Bulls. Thomas is expected to play again today in Game 2 of the series.
According to NBA.com, Thomas plans to play tonight then fly to Seattle to be with his family for funeral arrangements.
“I think the biggest thing is they really care about each other. It’s really tough when he’s sitting there and some of his family is back in Seattle. … But I think the next extension of your family is who you’re around every day, and your team. … They care about one another and they support one another. That’s what you hope you have in a team, but it’s probably not always the case,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told NBA.com.
The Celtics have explained Thomas is expected to rejoin the team for Game 3, but the decision is up to him in what is a very fluid situation given the tragic circumstances.
Game 1 featured a very emotional scene in Boston. Thomas could be seen with tears prior to the game and during pre-game introductions. Thomas had 33 points, six assists and six rebounds in an inspired effort in the first game of the series against the Bulls.
The Celtics faithful did their best to show their support for Thomas. The Celtics held a moment of silence for Chyna prior to the game. Thomas received a loud ovation when he was announced the crowd. Chants of “M-V-P” rang out as Thomas shot free throws. Signs of support for the Thomas family were all around TD Garden.
Celtics teammate Avery Bradley is also from Tacoma and is believed to be the one that gave Thomas the news after he pulled him away from a post-practice media session. Bradley spoke to NBA.com about how the team is trying to support Thomas during this trying time.
“Me and Isaiah have known each other since we were kids. So no matter what goes on we’re always going have each other’s back. We’re always going to be there for one another. I think he knows that, and I know the same about him. We’re always going support each other. … We’re a family,” Bradley told NBA.com.