Flashback to Isaiah Thomas capturing Boston Celtics fans’ hearts with monster outing

Boston Celtics (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

In the 2017 NBA season and playoffs, Isaiah Thomas captured the hearts of Boston Celtics fans all over the world. Thomas became an MVP candidate, and he brought the Celtics on a magical run to the Eastern Conference Finals. We at the Houdini thought we would highlight the best game from his 2017 playoff run, which is Game 2 of the second-round series against the Washington Wizards.

The Celtics would win 129-119 behind an iconic 53-point performance from Thomas. At the time, Thomas was just the fourth player in Celtics history to have a 50-point game in the playoffs.

Some background heading into the game is that the Celtics had already had a rocky road in the 2017 postseason. The Cs had to come back from a 2-0 deficit to win their first-round series against the Chicago Bulls, and Thomas was dealing with the loss of his sister. After winning four straight to defeat the Bulls, the Celtics defeated the Wizards in Game 1 to set themselves up to take care of business on their home floor.

The Boston Celtics trailed by as many as 14 points in Game 2 against the Wizards, but they found a way to force overtime, where Thomas shined. Thomas outdueled John Wall, who had 40 points of his own, in overtime as Thomas had nine points in the overtime period. The Celtics win gave them a 2-0 series lead and a six-game winning streak.

Now let’s dive into the main categories of our rewatch series.

Biggest moment of the game: Isaiah Thomas and-one jumper

The biggest moment of the game came in overtime, as the Celtics were up by three points with a little over a minute to go. Thomas got into an iso set on Markieff Morris and rose for a jump shot, but Morris forced him to adjust his shot. Thomas adjusted his shot and basically threw it into the hoop for a huge momentum-shifting play.

The play effectively put the game away for the Boston Celtics, and it was a perfect cap on his 53-point performance.

Star of the game: Isaiah Thomas

The star of the game is obvious as Thomas had one of the most iconic performances in the Celtic’s history. Not only did Thomas have 53 points, but he also outdueled John Wall, who was an elite point guard at the time. Thomas shot 18-33 from the field and 5-12 from three, while also adding three steals.

The performance is one that Celtics fans will never forget, and it’s the defining moment of his time in Boston.

Winners of the game: Thomas/Al Horford/Terry Rozier

Besides Thomas, who is an easy winner to pick in this game, Al Horford deserves recognition for his performance. Horford, who was in his first season as a Celtic, had 15 points, 12 rebounds, one steal, and two blocks. Horford was a steady presence for the C’s in that season, and he helped steer them in the right direction.

Terry Rozier also deserves some love for his performance off the bench. Rozier had 12 points, six rebounds, and four assists, and he hit some big shots in the fourth quarter. He always seemed to hit big shots during his Boston Celtics career.

Losers of the game: John Wall/Amir Johnson/Bradley Beal

John Wall and Bradley Beal are two losers in this game because it defined their era with the Wizards. Wall is a loser because his 40-point performance was overshadowed by Thomas, and it showed that he just never had what it took to be great. Beal is also a loser because he shot an abysmal 4/15 from the field and 1/9 from three. These kinds of performances are why Beal has developed a reputation for being a poor postseason performer.

Amir Johnson is a loser for the Celtics because he only played five minutes, and he was a -8. Johnson was the weakest starter on that C’s team, and it showed in this game.

Impact of the game for the Boston Celtics

The impact of this game is that it is the defining moment of the IT-era Boston Celtics. Also, it set the stage for another iconic performance in Game 7 of the series when Kelly Olynyk had 26 points off the bench to help the C’s win the series.