Celtics' Isaiah Thomas, who flew to Tacoma, Washington, yesterday to attend the funeral of his younger sister, Chyna, who was killed in a vehicle crash, scored 20 points but was just six of 15 from the floor, including one of five from three-point range.
The Celtics released a statement from Thomas on Wednesday afternoon.
Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) stands alone during the fourth quarter of the Chicago Bulls 106-102 win over the Boston Celtics in game one of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden.
Those are emotional words from Thomas, who admitted that "this has been without question the hardest week of my life".
But head coach Brad Stevens said the focus is simple as the series shifts to Chicago on Friday night. "One thing I learned about this team is through adverse situations, this team sticks together". How we need everybody, him included, probably more than anybody. "We're gonna go out and help him out in any way". He knows that. And his family as well. We had some carless turnovers that aren't typical of our team. And we have to focus our time on trying to do our jobs as well as we possibly can. The Bulls outrebounded the Celtics by 21 in Game 1 and did so for most of Game 2 before the Celtics were able to even it up near the end of the game. "I can't sit here, complain, worry or be down". After the game, Larry Bird of the Celtics said: "I didn't think anyone was capable of doing what Michael has done to us".
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"Sometimes that becomes a sign that guys are pressing, and feeling that things can not go our way", Stevens said. "Especially in, again, those [Bulls] runs".
The Celtics trail the Bulls 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. And then later on in the game, when. we had cut it to one and they put it back out to 10.
Still, though we're focused on the 1-8 of it all, the fact of the matter is that these are two talented and flawed teams with a lot of different players who can get hot on a given night. As brother Brook continued to inch towards a personal legacy just across town, it appeared as though the other Lopez would never escape the shadow his twin brother cast on him once the two of them finished their playing days at Stanford University. "That's what we talked about".
But Stevens, his career postseason record now a frustrating 2-10, admits that playoff intensity is a far different thing from what faces a good team over the course of the regular season. He's hoping, though, that his team, fueled by the notion of being an underdog all season, will respond to the situation with its most inspired basketball of the season.
"The first quarter is what really got us, and they hit us a little bit, set us back in Game 1, as well", Hayward said. "It has to. That has to happen, and that's the charge for our team".