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Isaiah Thomas’ Historic First Half Cannot be Ignored

Now I know I’m not the first to write a piece like this, and I certainly won’t be the last. But as a lifelong Celtics fan and someone who attempted a high school basketball career despite a 5’10” frame filled out mostly by Cheetos and Chef Boyardee, I’ve found myself really loving Isaiah Thomas and what he’s been doing since he arrived in Boston just about 2 years ago. And now, that admiration for “The Little Guy” has gone from rooting for a scrappy 6th man who will get an entertaining technical every couple games, to rooting for the No. 1 scorer in the Eastern Conference who dominates in the 4th quarter and just broke the franchise record for consecutive 20+ point games that was previously held by John friggin’ Havlicek.

What a ride it’s been.

When the Celts acquired Isaiah Thomas, it wasn’t exactly a headline deal; they plucked him away from Phoenix by giving up 6’4” shooting guard Marcus Thornton (who signed with Washington and just got traded to Brooklyn, and hasn’t played since the first week of January) and a 1st round pick they had previously acquired from Cleveland. Isaiah came in and made an immediate impact – in his first game, he dropped 21 points off the bench and was tossed for arguing with officials in the 4th quarter. From then on, Celtics fans knew exactly what they were getting with Isaiah –- and they loved it already.

The 2015-2016 season was where Isaiah really came into his own. In his first full season with Boston, he set career-highs in starts (79), points (22.2), and assists (6.2), making his first All-Star appearance in the process. The Celtics finished the year as the #5 seed in the East and got bounced by Atlanta in the first round, but the season as a whole was huge for IT4’s development and growth into a legitimate scorer in the NBA. And once the Celtics inked Al Horford to a 4-year deal in the offseason, hopes for the Celtics in 2016-17 began to skyrocket.

So far this season, Thomas has been nothing short of incredible. He’s currently second in the NBA in scoring at 29.9 points per game and he’s been especially impressive in the 4th quarter — he’s scored an ungodly 10.7 points per game in the 4th alone. For reference, Western Conference All-Star Draymond Green is averaging 10.2 points PER GAME. Plus Isaiah has yet to kick anyone in the dick – Thomas 2, Green 0.

Thomas locked up another All-Star reserve spot this year — I won’t get into him not being in the starting lineup because I really don’t have all day — but he’s not getting content just yet; he’s much more interested in the long-term success that the Celtics can enjoy with their current lineup. Injuries have plagued the Celtics this year, but the team is a crazy 16-6 when their Game 1 starting lineup of Thomas, Horford, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, and Amir Johnson is healthy. Bradley should finally return after the All-Star break, and it looks like we’ll finally get to see what this team – and Thomas – can do with a complete roster.

So as the second half of the NBA season gets underway, hopes in Boston are that Isaiah Thomas’ ongoing success will become even tougher for the rest of the NBA to ignore. The C’s are playing well, the fans are invested, and Thomas is helping make sure one thing’s clear: it’s Finals or bust in Boston again.

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