Damian Lillard outdueled Isaiah Thomas in a battle of returning All-Star guards yesterday morning (Singapore time), but Thomas' team had the last laugh. Thomas was all smiles and hugs to see everyone who was his co-worker, colleague or friend over the past few years. They also had a 74-54 advantage in scoring in the second half.
Thomas took a couple hard falls, good tests for his hip. There's no hard feelings to anybody in this city or anybody in this organization. Two in a row have turned in revenge games.
- He was so good at those things past year. With Love also in excellent form, and Thomas back in the fray, they will take this out in a game which will go down to the final position, winning 102-101 over the Celtics. But after his seven-month absence, he said playing Tuesday night against Portland was one of the most special moments of his career.
The Cavs are 25-12 this season through yesterday's games, They're led by LeBron James (27.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 9.2 apg, 1.62 spg and 1.03 bpg), Kevin Love (20.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg), Derrick Rose (14.3 ppg, though that's only in seven total games played), Dwyane Wade (11.3 ppg, nearly entirely as a reserve) and Jeff Green (10.8 ppg, entirely as a reserve).
There will be another opportunity for the Celtics to honor him, when Boston hosts the Cavs on February 11. "I know it will be all love", he said. Thomas won't play against the Celtics Wednesday.
Thomas is clearly still loved by the city of Boston. Until the Cavs start racking up some wins against the league's better teams, that hot streak they put together when they reeled off 18 victories out of 19 games will look more and more hollow because it was mostly against weaker teams. Then came the tribute video saga.
"We all love Isaiah and are grateful for him and all that he's done for us as well". The Celtics finished with the top seed a year ago, but lost in the conference finals to Cleveland.
All the ingredients are in place for a rivalry between the Cavaliers and Celtics, if not for the fact that the matchup has been largely defined by absence.
Following Wednesday's clash with Cleveland, the Celtics close out their current four-game homestand with a visit from the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, before kicking off a brief two-game road trip in Philadelphia on Saturday.
The Boston Celtics (30-10) have won four of their last five games including a 108-105 win over the Brooklyn Nets in which Kyrie Irving scored 28 points.
LeBron James praised his new teammate after the game.
"It's not one of 82 because they're the No. 1 seed and we have some history with them obviously", James said. Now that he has, games like this one (a planned rest on the second night of a back-to-back) can not help but feel incomplete.
Terry Rozier expects the Garden to be rocking with James in the house.
"We're good", he said of his relationship with Ainge.