May 2, 2017: Boston 129, Washington 119
53 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals
Isaiah Thomas, all of 5 feet 9, had to prove himself since becoming the final pick of the 2011 NBA draft. He made a splash in Sacramento and then in Phoenix before being traded him to Boston, where he had the best seasons of his pro career and led the Celtics to three consecutive playoff appearances. On the eve of their playoff opener in 2017, tragedy struck his family when his sister, Chyna, was killed in a one-car accident. Yet he didn’t miss a game, and later that postseason, Thomas played his best game ever.
“It was the playoffs. You just get in the zone. You feel like everything is going to go in.” The game wasn’t a blur? “Nah. It slows down. Slow motion. It was just a regular game in a lot of ways. I’ve scored 50 before in a game. But this was special because it was my sister’s birthday. Yeah. That’s the one.”