Thomas in Boston: "It's like being at home"


BOSTON – Almost a year and a half after the Boston Celtics took over Isaiah Thomas, he finally got the chance to be recognized at TD Garden on Monday night.

"It's always good to be back," said Thomas, who was healthy and available to play against the Celtics for the first time since joining the Kyrie Irving group in September 2018. "C & Is like home, so it's always good to be in Boston and TD Garden, and I'm just happy to be back and rubbing familiar faces and getting this true and true love. "

He received all this love – and still others – with 7:06 remaining in the first quarter of Monday's game, when the Celtics honored Thomas for his two seasons won with the franchise with a tribute video during the first part of the game. free time.

Last season, Thomas, then a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, was injured last season when his team visited the Celtics on Jan. 3. On February 11, when the Celtics had tentatively scheduled a tribute, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. . He signed with the Nuggets in the offseason.

When the video began Monday night, Thomas, who was riding the apartment bike in the tunnel, went to the court and watched as the crowd rose. Then, once the video was over, the fans started an ovation that lasted more than a minute and left Thomas (who was shown repeatedly on the jumbotron) moved.

He sent a peace sign to the supporters, then tapped his left wrist twice – which he was doing here when "IT Time" arrived.

"I know that love is going to be ubiquitous in the building, so that means more than anything for me," said Thomas before the match began. "But if they make a video tribute, it would mean the world for me too, I put my heart and soul here on this floor, every night.

"I was trying to play well every night, no matter what I lived in my personal life, no matter what was waiting for me, I was just trying to play hard for this city and this organization. Tonight is very popular and I know it's going to be a lot. "

Thomas also said that he would like to end his career with the Celtics, if possible.

"I mean, these are the funniest moments of my career, I became a superstar here, the world knew my name when I played for the Boston Celtics. [I’m] do not say that they do not do it now, but playing for the Celtics has changed my whole career, on and off.

"This city and this organization have treated my family with 100% respect, decisions are made, I never hold a grudge against anyone for this decision, but you never know what can happen." My options are always open. no matter what it is, and I mean if I ended up here at one point, it would improve the story even better. "

Isaiah Thomas watches his TD Garden tribute video on Monday night. Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

When the video was aired, it was still unclear whether Thomas would enter the match. Shortly afterwards, however, this issue was resolved when Thomas – who was warming up in the tunnel before and after the tribute video, came to the scorer's table and recorded a new standing ovation at 02:42 the first quarter.

It was the first time that Thomas had appeared in a game since his withdrawal from the Denver rotation before his match against The Minnesota Timberwolves on March 12 by Nuggets coach Mike Malone, who had decided to shorten his rotation before the playoffs.

Thomas, who had struggled in nine games in which he finally made his season debut last month, averaging 12 points, but averaging 37.3% in the field and 27.3 % over a distance of 3 points, would not be part of it.

"Very difficult decision," said Malone. "If you know the story between Isaiah and me, I think this relationship has a lot to do with the fact that he chose Denver and he comes to play in Denver." must be summoned to a meeting and let him know that I am to shorten the rotation and that it was going to be outside the rotation, it was not easy and it was not something that I liked doing it. "

Malone went on to say that he had been impressed by the way Thomas had handled the news and supported his teammates. But when asked directly if the veteran would be allowed a few minutes to return home the greatest success of the NBA, Malone has done everything not to engage.

"We have not talked much about the situation since the initial conversation that was held a few weeks ago," Malone said. "I know this game is, I believe, the first game where he will be back here with a chance to play since his start, and it's not lost for me." "We'll see. can happen in a basketball game.

"I just know that these fans will give him the welcome he deserves and I'm delighted to see him and I know it will be an emotion-filled night for him."

Thomas said it was the first time that he had not felt pain since the hip issues that had led to his last season with the Celtics after the second game of the final phase of the Conference of the The same problems had derailed him last season, when he initially tried to avoid surgery, but had big problems with the Cavaliers. He was then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he played the season and became a free agent.

Thomas, however, insisted that he could still return to the level he was before hip problems would make him fall after winning two All-Star selections and an All-NBA nod at of his two full seasons with the Celtics.

"I just want a legitimate opportunity," he said. "Whatever the role, it will be, but I know that I can still play at a high level, and if the opportunity allows me, I can be an All Star, I can be All-NBA, I can be all that, because I feel physically good.

"But everything is a matter of opportunity, if I have the opportunity, I'll be ready to do it, I'll take full advantage of it, and when this summer comes, I'll just find the best opportunity, what is the best situation for me and my family, and then go from there. "

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