Boston Celtics' star player, Isaiah Thomas, had an emotional first round matchup against the Chicago Bulls after finding out his sister's death just hours before the game.
Basketball fans of both teams at the TD Garden in Boston offered a moment of silence to pay their respects for Thomas' 22-year-old little sister, Chyna Thomas, who died in a car accident in Washington. Chyna was pronounced dead on the spot when her Toyota Camry hurtled on a barrier which resulted for it to smash on a sign post. Thomas was in tears during the pre-game but seconds before the tip off, he came right back to the court.
Thomas was in Boston when he heard the news about his sister's passing. ESPN reported that Celtics' head coach Brad Stevens noticed Thomas' struggles during the warmups and some moments prior to the game. The team's point guard also showed early endeavors during the first quarter when he missed his first free throw attempt. But Thomas finished the game strong as he recorded team-high 33 points, six assists and five rebounds on a 38-minute of gametime against the Bulls.
Coach Stevens said on the post-game interview that it doesn't surprise him how Thomas was still locked in on the game despite his loss. Stevens further stated that Thomas' previous play just goes to show that he is an amazing player not just in Boston but in the league. Celtics teammate, Avery Bradley, also praised Thomas because of his athleticism and being strong despite the adversity. Bradley was captured comforting Thomas when he first heard the news during their Saturday practice.
The Chicago Bulls also released a statement on Saturday, sending its condolences to Thomas and his family. Head coach Fred Hoiberg and star player, Jimmy Butler, also acknowledged the emotions filled within the arena during the game, commending Thomas for what he has put through during the game despit the loss.