THOMAS SHINES IN CELTICS’ VIC­TORY

Ded­i­cates high score to sis­ter who died in car ac­ci­dent

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ISA­IAH Thomas scored a ca­reer-high 53 points and ded­i­cated the ef­fort to his late sis­ter as the Bos­ton Celtics de­feated the Wash­ing­ton Wizards 129-119 in a sec­ond-round NBA playoff game Tues­day.

Thomas scored 20 points in the fourth quar­ter and nine more in a game-clos­ing 15-2 over-time run that gave the host Celtics a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven East­ern Con­fer­ence se­ries, which shifts to Wash­ing­ton for game three to­day.

Thomas at­tended his sis­ter Chyna’s fu­neral on Satur­day after she died in a car ac­ci­dent and has also had to over­come hav­ing had a tooth knocked out in a game-one vic­tory on Sun­day.

“My sis­ter, every­thing I do is for her, and she’s watch­ing over me,” Thomas said.

On what would have been his sis­ter’s 23rd birth­day, Thomas con­nected on 18-of-33 shots from the floor and 12-of-13 from the free-throw line.

“The least I can do is go out there and play for her,” Thomas said. “There was no way I couldn’t play on her birth­day. I wanted to win for her.”

He did more than that, eclips­ing his for­mer ca­reer-best 52 points in a reg­u­lar-sea­son vic­tory over Miami this sea­son and his for­mer playoff best of 42 last year against At­lanta.

In the Western Con­fer­ence, NBA sea­son wins lead­ers Golden State beat vis­it­ing Utah 106-94 in the opener of their sec­ond-round se­ries.

Celtics cen­tre Al Hor­ford contributed 15 points and 12 re­bounds while Jae Crow­der and Av­ery Bradley each added 14 points for Bos­ton.

But the only Celtics player to ever score more points in a playoff game was John Havlicek, who struck for 54 in 1973.

Thomas spent six hours with a den­tist on Monday to re­pair his teeth and played with a cus­tom­made den­tal guard.

John Wall led seven dou­ble-fig­ure scor­ers for the Wash­ing­ton Wizards with 40 points and 13 as­sists, but 19 of those points and six as­sists came in the first quar­ter.

The Wizards, who led 42-29 after the first pe­riod, be­came the first team since the NBA in­tro­duced a shot clock in 1954 to lose the first two games of a playoff se­ries after lead­ing each by 10 or more points at the end of the first quar­ter.

Otto Porter’s three-pointer put Wash­ing­ton ahead 114-112 with 32 sec­onds to play in reg­u­la­tion but Thomas was fouled by Marcin Gor­tat and sank two free-throws with 14.4 sec­onds re­main­ing to pull Bos­ton level again. Wall and Beal missed in the dy­ing sec­onds to send the game into over-time.

In Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia, Stephen Curry scored 22 points while Draymond Green and Kevin Du­rant each added 17 points and Klay Thomp­son had 15 as the War­riors showed no rust from a week off after a first-round sweep.

The War­riors scored the first nine points and would surge ahead 58-46 at half-time. Curry scored 16 first-half points while Du­rant and Thomp­son each added 10.

Utah stayed within 84-73 en­ter­ing the fourth quar­ter, but the War­riors opened it with a 8-0 run as the Jazz missed their first six shots of the fi­nal pe­riod and Golden State pulled away to stay.

RE­SULTS — 2ND ROUND PLAY­OFFS (best-of-seven se­ries) — Western Con­fer­ence: Golden State 106 Utah 94 (Golden State lead 1-0); East­ern Con­fer­ence: Bos­ton 129 Wash­ing­ton 119 (OT; Bos­ton lead 2-0).

AFP PIC

Celtics’ Isa­iah Thomas takes a shot against the Wizards dur­ing their sec­ond-round playoff game in Bos­ton on Tues­day.

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