The little guy, all-star, MVP, Mr. Fourth quarter... Whatever you call Isaiah Thomas, everyone can agree he is the biggest asset to the Celtics team. Not only is he averaging 29 points, 2.6 rebounds and 6 assists alone, but also he is this team's captain. He builds them up and gives them motivation. Losing a player like that is like the Jets and good football or Blue Jay fans and commitment, it just doesn't work. The Celtics had to face their biggest challenge yet this season- losing Isaiah Thomas for two games from a knee injury. In this crucial part of the season, this team had to learn how to step up, make big plays, and try to not put the pressure on one guy. Here's how this last week went.
Games without IT4: What should have been the two easiest games for Thomas to miss, turned out to be a lot harder than anyone expected. The first( Friday March 17th) was played against the Nets, who have the worst record in the league(15-57). There were eight ties, eight lead changes and a blown ten point lead. Crowder stepped up, having 24 points and 12 rebounds which barely got them by, winning 98-95. Two days later, the Celtics had to travel to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers where their season-long struggles of blowing leads continued. They were up 13 at one point and Horford had a season high of 27 points, but the C's couldn't pull through, losing 105-99 and Horford having a scoreless fourth.
Next games this week: With two must-win conference games this week, Isaiah Thomas returned Monday against the Wizards, who are just barely behind the Celtics in the East standings and had to face the Pacers Wednesday, which would be a preview to the first round of playoffs(if today's standings stay the same). Thomas' 25 points in both games gave the Celtics two major wins, 110-102 against the Wizards and 109-100 against the Pacers. This past Friday, the Celtics had a rematch with the Suns after a devastating three-point loss to them earlier this month. Thomas led the game with 34 points, 7 assists and a 130-120 win which makes them undefeated since his return.
Whether he is scoring points or not, just having him in the game makes all the difference. In his two missing games, the C's were shooting 40%, including 24% or under from behind the arc versus at least 43% and 30% or higher from behind the arc when he was active. With nine games left of the regular season and playoffs approaching faster and faster, let's hope this is it for his injuries because although other players can score high points, no one can take the place of the little guy.