BOSTON – This was the moment that Isaiah Thomas had always dreamed of.
For years, the little guard was constantly bouncing from team to team Seeking two things: Respect and a place to call home. Here, when he was playing for the Boston Celtics, Thomas had found both.
However, he has failed to recapture one of them since the Celtics dismissed him in 201
When the video was over, Thomas greeted the crowd – first by flashing a peace sign, then by tapping his left wrist twice, which meant "IT Time" one last time – since standing ovations for him and his performances in Boston took more than a minute.
"It was special," Thomas later said.
"That's all, I appreciate them."
"That means a lot."
It was a reminder of how special his running was here, as well as his connection with these fans Reminder of how far away this player is today.
Time finally gets everyone on a basketball court: some athletes – quarterbacks, pitchers, golfers are all examples – can at least temporarily overcome age with sheer skill – in these cases The brain may not have the body to make up for it.
However, basketball is not one of those sports.Sure, some of the big boys have managed to hold their own in the country, but most of these players – for example Tim Duncan and Karl Malone – have something that does not change with age: the size: whether someone is 20 or 40 years old, he stays 7 feet tall.
Or, in the case of Isaiah Thomas, they stay 5 feet 9. Maybe.)
Apart from that, even in the NBA, in which the epochs in sport shift every three to five years – and come faster than anyone expected – is the rule of the "King of the Fourth In two seasons, Thomas shone as one of the NBA's brightest stars for one of his most famous franchisees, the perfect combination of person and opportunity on both sides He had a team of hard-working role-players and needed an attacker to attack, a role that Thomas played superbly, becoming the latest in a series of underdog tales to enthrall the patrons of the city's sports teams
That was true for the way he braved that he had set up ridiculous statues, while he was almost always the smallest player on that place. The same applies to the way in which he was in the face of overwhelming opposition: both the tragic death of his sister Chyna in a car accident in the 2017 playoffs as well as his playthrough – and finally his confusion Beside a hip injury.
"I experienced a real situation here when I lost my sister, that this whole city and organization went through with me," said Thomas. "And I think that's why love is always different than … love is always there, but that has taken it to another level."
"I've been through the worst situation you may have with these people in life could go through was just right for me. Everyone in the city, the organization, they were with me, they went through with me. That's why Boston means so much to me.
Then, as soon as he arrived as a star and was hugged as one of the city's favorite sons, he disappeared. Thomas was sent in a package to the Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving, who – despite the protests of Anthony Davis senior a few weeks ago – the only step was that the Celtics could and would only do.
The version of Thomas who took the court at 2:42 In the first quarter, Monday night went far away from the one who entertained this audience during his brief stay in So often tied to Boston: The harsh problems that led him to miss the final three games of the Eastern Conference 2017 final, he transformed Thomas from a powerful scoring machine into debt at both ends.
6-minute 50-second stint in the first half of Monday illustrates: When he came into play, the Nuggets led at four at the time he was at 7:52 in the second left, the Nuggets followed b y four. Thomas missed his two shots – a short runner in the lead and an open 3-pointer on the right wing – and hired an envelope to accompany two assists.
With Thomas on the bench for the same minutes in the second half, Denver put the game away – eventually winning 114-105, securing the series's first playoff berth in six seasons.
|FG Pct||44.6||37.1  3-Pt FG Pct||37.8||19659030] APG||6.1||4.0|
Thomas & # 39; numbers in limited action this season are not prettier. He has an average of 7.7 points per game, with 36.4 percent shot off the ground, 26.5 percent of them from 3-point areas. Denver outscored 27 points in the 147 minutes Thomas played this season, and is 12.3 points lower for 100 possessions when Thomas is on the pitch (minus 7.6) than when he's on the field Bank is (plus 5.3).
All these reasons are why Nuggets coach Mike Malone went to Thomas earlier this month and told him that after nine games since his last hip replacement last month, he would not be in Denver's rotation.
"The reason I took him out of rotation and our team [struggling] … our team did not fight because of Isaiah Thomas," Malone said before the game on Monday. "That was an unfair kind of rating." We fight because of Isaiah. "
" No, we had difficulties because "we" tried. It's never about an individual. "Sometimes it is." Professional sport is big business, very seldom, if at all, does a feel-good story come to a happy ending Thomas's time in Boston is a positive proof Fact, how could anyone so universally loved here
Because it was the right business decision, Irving is simply a much better player – especially compared to this version – and she does not look like the old version is coming back soon – if at all.
I'm not sure, "Malone said when asked," What I want to say is this: If anyone can do it, it's him. His heart, his determination, his self-confidence.
"[But] Will he be the player of two years leading the league in the fourth quarter, averaging 29 per game and being an All-Star ?, do not know."
No one else can. The evidence, however, suggests that this will not be the case.
It's all unfortunate for Thomas, who had a contract under the market when he played for the Celtics – just for his hip, before he could be paid according to his performance in Boston.
Sport is not fair. Injuries happen. Possibilities come and go. Thomas, who made the 60th and final election in the Washington 2011 draft, has witnessed this every step of the way. He has managed to overcome thanks to a combination of the highest level of confidence and unique skills.
The confidence still remains.
"I just want a legitimate opportunity," said Thomas. "Whatever the role, it will be, but I know that I can play at a high level again, and given the opportunity, I can be an All-Star, I can be an All-NBA 'I can do it all because I feel physically great.'
"But it's about the opportunity. If I get an opportunity, I will be prepared for it. I will take full advantage of it. And when this summer comes, I'll just find out what the best opportunity is, which situation is best for me and my family, and then move on from there. "
Thomas wore eye-catching green-and-gold Nikes during the game Monday night, who were later asked.
"Do you know what's crazy? These green-and-gold sneakers were the final year I was here for the final, "Thomas said," I also got some other pairs, but they were made for the NBA Finals. "
" And then we have lost to the Cavs, and things like that. "
Other" things "included Thomas being bartered away, and his career was being turned in a different direction than he had ever imagined: it was one that took him that night in a thoughtful mood as he had to deal with how far his star had fallen from his vertex.
"It was special here, but I did not understand that I was not here anymore," said Thomas. "I was so locked up in those moments that I did not really know what was going on.
"So there were times when I was swapped, where I sat back and really thought about things that I did as an individual, the things we did as a team, and those were amazing moments that I did for the rest
"These moments were everything, and we have some legendary s …"
Then, Thomas paused.
"I have also made some legendary s …"  Boston gave Thomas everything he wanted for a moment – Monday night reminded everyone, including Thomas.
It also reminded everyone that these days are over.