BOSTON — Is there anything Isaiah Thomas can't do?
He went 18-of-33 from the field; was 12-of-13 from the free throw line and drained five big-time triples en-route to a career-high 53 points in a 129-119 Game 2 win -- and most importantly a 2-0 series lead over the Washington Wizards.
Considering what he's gone through over the past couple of weeks, that type of performance is otherworldly.
But what was most impressive about 'The Little Guy's' monster offensive outburst was that the best parts of it came in the fourth quarter and overtime. Thomas scored 29 points in the final 17 minutes of action -- including a remarkable stretch in OT that saw him draw contact and hit an impossibly difficult fadeaway in the lane -- nearly single-handedly willing the Celtics to victory.
"I thought he was really gonna have to gut this one out," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens about Thomas, after the guard played following surgery to repair a lost tooth. "He not only guts it out, but he scores over 50."
The Celtics wouldn't have won Game 2 without Thomas. Heck, they wouldn't have made it to this point in the playoffs without him. With that being said, there were a multitude of other reasons as to how the Celtics came back to win Tuesday night. Here's my top five:
1. Dialed in
The Celtics shot a staggering 61 percent (22-of-36) in the first half on their way to a convincing 64 points. They cooled off a bit after the break, but still finished with a 51 percent mark from the field. They also hit another 13 threes on 36 attempts. The Wizards were equally deadly from the field in the opening half, but couldn't keep pace for the entire contest.
2. Foul Trouble
Heading into overtime, Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris and Kelly Oubre each had five fouls. Seconds into the period, Boston's Marcus Smart made a smart play on the offensive glass and got Gortat to foul out of the game. That took away the Wizards' biggest inside presence defensively, allowing Thomas to attack with more ease down the stretch and seal the victory.
3. Trusting the youth
Terry Rozier saw big, big minutes in Game 2 and came through in a big, big way. The second-year man out of Louisville dropped 12 points and was an eye-popping plus-25 when on the court. He hit a couple of clutch threes when the C's needed a boost, including a huge corner trey with the shot clock winding down to tie the game at 110 with under two minutes remaining in the fourth. Rozier did a tremendous job on the defensive end as well, and grabbed the ball with a purpose off the glass despite giving up a significant height advantage in the post.
"One thing I've always known about Terry from the minute I met him was he was extremely athletic and he was going to compete," said Stevens. "One of our best defensive rebounders in this series right now is Terry Rozier."
Rozier was a huge rotation piece -- and so was rookie Jaylen Brown. Brown played just 12 minutes compared to Rozier's 25, but he was 2-for-2 from the field and did a great job defensively on Wall and Bradley Beal (just 14 points).
4. Riding the Crowd
The TD Garden was absolutely rocking. And the Celtics fed off that energy in crunch time. The noise and overall enthusiasm throughout the building was contagious. It had that same incredible vibe brought by the Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen-led Celtics. That type of atmosphere can swing momentum to the hosts in a heartbeat -- and it did just that on Tuesday night.
5. The King in the Fourth ... and Fifth?
Twenty-nine points for IT in the fourth quarter and overtime combined. Need I say more?
Nick Giannino can be reached by phone at 978-338-2648 or email at Ngiannino@salemnews.com