BOSTON – After concluding the list of the top ten Boston athletes of the decade, I am now embarking on the final sports countdown of the decade, which will see the honoring and remembrance of the ten best Boston sports games of the decade. There are plenty of worthy entrances on the list, and I cannot wait to look back on one of the best decades for any city in sports history.
Beginning at number ten, there is no denying that a Boston Celtics game led by Isaiah Thomas had to make the list. In 2017, the Celtics squared off against the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference semifinals and the second game of this series is one that will not ever be forgotten.
Before the post-season began, tragedy struck Thomas and his family when his twenty-two year old sister, Chyna, died in a car accident. Even with this horrible event, Thomas always told the team that he was going to play. Not once did the idea of sitting out ever cross his mind. He said he wanted to play for her.
And when the second round of the playoffs rolled around, Thomas found himself playing in a game against the Wizards that would have fallen on Chyna's twenty-third birthday. The performance he delivered was unforgettable.
Engineering a massive comeback after the Celtics fell down by thirteen points after just one quarter, Thomas put up the second most points scored by a Celtic in a playoff game in the history of the franchise with 53, including five three pointers. Thomas' scoring was crucial as he scored twenty of the team's thirty fourth quarter points and nine of the team's fifteen overtime points. As pure a talent and a scorer as the Celtics have this decade, the team would not have won without Thomas; there is no denying that. Ultimately, they came away with a 129-119 win in overtime that gave them a two games to zero lead over Washington. They would end up winning the series in seven.
While the Celtics did not end up going all the way in 2017, the playoffs will always be among the most memorable in franchise history after the magic that Isaiah Thomas brought to the court for his sister.