BOSTON – In a battle for the second throne of Easteros, the King in the North was slayed by the King in the Fourth.
Isaiah Thomas has been busy ruling the shamrock kingdom, collecting heads of his greatest enemies. He fell to the Wall – and Beal – in Washington. But when the mystical velociraptors invaded from north of the border, Thomas’ domain was the first line of defense. IT swung his sword with great veracity and flair, finishing with 44 points (19 in the fourth) and seven assists in a 109-104 Celtics win over the Raptors.
Both sides had major injury absences, with All-Star starter DeMar DeRozan out for Toronto, Avery Bradley still awaiting his return and Kelly Olynyk ending up a late scratch due to a mild left shoulder sprain.
But in the end, it was a battle between Thomas and Kyle Lowry, perhaps the only guard in the east who has kept pace with Thomas’ historic efficiency and dominance this season. Lowry had 12 points of his own in the fourth, but didn’t score or assist in the final 2:30. Thomas ended up with his 5th 40-point game of the season, as he is half a point away from averaging 30 points per game on the season.
With the two teams separated by half a game, the winner would maintain control of the second seed. The Celtics snatched a 1.5 game lead over the Raptors and are just 2.5 games back of the Cavs.