A day after Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James proclaimed that the Boston Celtics do in fact have a star, Isaiah Thomas went about proving him right. Thomas scored a career-high 52 points in the Celtics’ 117-114 win over the Miami Heat on Friday, including 29 points in the fourth quarter.
Thomas was the entire show, scoring from just about everywhere. His efficiency was astounding: 15-of-26 shooting, including 9 of 13 from 3-point range, and he made 13 of 13 free throws.
As he often does, Thomas took over down the stretch. In the final frame, he made 9 of 13 shots, 6 of 8 3-pointers and all five of his free throws. Many of his shots were ridiculous off-the-dribble 3s, but if your heat checks keep going in, why stop taking them?
“The fourth quarter, it felt like I was in the gym by myself,” Thomas told celtics.com’s Amanda Pflugrad. “It felt like nobody was out there with me and I just was making everything.”
Watch what he did in the fourth:
A few facts about this unbelievable performance:
- Thomas is the first Celtic to score 50 or more points in a game since Paul Pierce on Feb. 15, 2006. In that game, a 113-109 overtime loss to James’ Cavaliers, Pierce shot 17 of 36 and didn’t make a single 3-pointer. The full list of Celtics who have scored 50 points in a game: Larry Bird (four times), Kevin McHale, Sam Jones, Pierce and Thomas.
- This was the highest-scoring game by a player 5-foot-9 or shorter since Calvin Murphy’s 57 points on March 18, 1978, per Sports Illustrated‘s Ben Golliver.
- Thomas didn’t record an assist. This is the 16th 50-point game without an assist in NBA history, per ESPN Stats and Information. The last person to do it: New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony on Jan. 24, 2014.
- Thomas is now the Celtics’ all-time record holder for points in a quarter. He missed the NBA’s all-time record for points in a fourth quarter by just two points — Wilt Chamberlain had 31 points in the fourth quarter of his 100-point game, per the Boston Herald‘s Mark Murphy.
- Thomas raised his fourth-quarter scoring average from 8.6 points to 9.3 points. Only Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who is averaging 10 points in the fourth quarter, is ahead of him in this category. Remember when the most popular criticism of Boston was that it didn’t have a crunch-time scorer on the roster?