Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas is nothing if not confident.
The king of fourth quarters, Thomas finished with 31 points and five assists in Wednesday’s playoff-like win over the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Thomas, who averages an NBA-high 10.3 points in the fourth quarter, scored six in the final stanza with two key assists. The 5-9 All-Star took umbrage with a postgame question about how the Cavaliers kept him relatively contained.
“Nobody holds me in check. Don’t say that,” Thomas said. “I made plays. I average 30 points for a reason. I made plays. They double me. I passed it to Jae (Crowder). He hit a shot. I passed it to Avery (Bradley). I believe in my teammates. And then I hit a three-pointer where they miscommunicated on their coverage, but my job every day, no matter what the defense throws at me, is to make plays and score the ball. I try to do that to the best of my ability.”
Thomas has become an MVP darkhorse after he was selected with the last pick in the 2011 draft. His ascendance, as chronicled by USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick, is nothing short of amazing.
But from a team perspective, Wednesday’s 103-99 triumph was a significant win for the Celtics. Aside from having lost three of four to current East playoff teams, they badly needed a win over the Cavs. Cleveland had won eight of nine vs. Boston since the 2014 playoffs. The Celtics are also the No. 2 team in the East right now and are a legitimate threat to to the Cavs should they meet in the Eastern Conference Finals.
And if that happens, the Celtics can look back to Wednesday night and heed their point guard’s words.