Isaiah Thomas did his best to focus in last night’s playoff game after his sister tragically passed away in a car accident. On Saturday, Chyna Thomas, who was only 22 years old, crashed into a barrier on Interstate 5 in Washington State and died around 5 AM local time. Thomas did practice with the Boston Celtics on Saturday, since the identity of the driver killed wasn’t made public until later that day.
Once it was revealed that it was indeed the sister of the Celtics point guard that died, both the Celtics and the NBA immediately passed on their condolences via official statements. As for Thomas, he was visibly shaken in the pregame practice on Sunday, with teammate and long-time friend Avery Bradley trying to console him. Bradley said, “Me and Isaiah have known each other since we were kids, since were 11, 12 years old. So we’re just family.” In the actual game, Thomas went off for 33 points and did his best to keep the Celtics in the game. Alas, the Chicago Bulls upset the Celtics in the first game of this first round series. Bradley echoed the sentiment of many Celtics fans concerning Thomas’ performance: “It takes a lot for somebody to go through that and still be able to come out and perform at a high level. Even though he wasn’t screaming or the usual Isaiah, he still went out there and fought hard. And it made us want to fight harder for him.”
According to Celtics coach Brad Stevens, Thomas plans to participate in Game 2 on Tuesday night, but will proceed to go to Tacoma, Washington after the game. Game 3 of the Celtics-Bulls series is scheduled for Friday, which gives Thomas two days to mourn. Memorial services for Thomas’ sister are still being organized, and it is unclear which members of Thomas’ team will attend.