Isaiah Thomas scored 9.8 points per game (37.8), more than any other player in the Eastern conference last week. His pure, unfiltered dominance turbocharged a 4-0 week which capped off with the Celts in control of the two seed for the first time since 2011, Brad Stevens earning East coaching duties and driving the longest winning streak since 2013 (7 wins).
IT has posted 49 percent shooting, 38 percent from the three-point line and a nearly-perfect 96 percent from the free throw line. On top of that, Thomas had over 17 PPG in the fourth quarter over four games. Just another week.
Only this time it’s getting recognized.
Chris Forsberg announced that Thomas, who has been nominated for the East player of the week award for six straight weeks, has finally won it.
Isaiah Thomas wins Player of the Week in the East.— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) February 6, 2017
That brilliance on a nightly basis has become almost expected from Thomas, factoring into to a season that’s developed into one of the greatest in NBA history. Thomas now sits at 29.9 PPG. Only 30 players have ever averaged 30 PPG in a year, and Larry Bird’s 29.9 in 1988 is as close as a Celts scorer has ever drawn.
Every game is becoming an event, we’re watching history right before our eyes trend into national recognition with awards like this. This could represent building momentum for Thomas in what will likely be a historically close MVP vote. If his production continues to stretch into 30 points, mostly coming in the fourth quarter, it’s hard to rule him out of raising the same trophy Bird did multiple times.
His performance sits in good Celtics company. Thomas is now at 35 straight games with 20 points, which is five short of John Havilcek’s 40-game team record. Conversely, Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA record of 126 straight games with 20-plus points from 1961-1963 is probably untouchable. Since 1970, Michael Jordan’s streak of 72 straight between 1987-88 stood strong until Kevin Durant tied him on November 9. One day later, the latter recorded 18 points, failing to top MJ’s mark.
If the little guy reaches a stretch that long, we could be talking about those three letters come the springtime.