Bulpett: Floyd Mayweather would be proud of Isaiah Thomas’ KO punch
After all of it — after dropping 20 of his 38 points on the Wizards in the fourth quarter, after slapping five with Floyd Mayweather following one 3-pointer and giving the undefeated former champ his jersey following the game — Isaiah Thomas fairly floated into the tunnel and moved toward the Celtics dressing room.
To no one in particular and to the world in general, he had one more statement to make as he continued down the hallway.
“They know you can’t (expletive) with a real killa,” he said.
And in no uncertain terms, Isaiah Thomas had mortally wounded the Wizards.
“He got them going,” said Washington forward Otto Porter Jr. after falling to the Celtics, 117-108. “You can say that for sure. He was just being ultra-aggressive for them. He kind of knew what he had to do.”
Thomas’ friend sitting in the front row may be known as “Money” Mayweather, but in the last period, Isaiah was straight cash. After scoring 18 points through the first three quarters, he shifted into high gear and jammed his sneaker onto the gas pedal.
A driving three-point play got the Celts the lead. Later, for the second time in the game, the 5-foot-9 missile missed a trey, tracked down the rebound and converted it into points.
Mayweather was out of his chair, a sum greater than the gross national product of several countries bouncing from his neck.
“Oh, for sure,” said Thomas when asked if the pugilist’s presence was additional motivation for a player who seems never to lack it. “Especially (because) I didn’t know he was coming to the game. I hadn’t talked to him today, and for him to surprise me like that, that was special. He’s always supported me since Day 1.”
Thomas simply continued to support the Celts and put on a show for his friend.
His putback had given the C’s a 92-91 lead, and on the next two possessions, he drilled 3-pointers. There would be another trey, some layups and free throws, squeezing the life out of the Wizards.
According to Thomas, Mayweather told him, “You playin’ like me out there.”
Added Isaiah, “He always thinks somebody’s playing like him. He’s just talking mess, and we usually win when he’s in the building.”
And the fact is their styles couldn’t be much different. While Mayweather deflects opponents’ shots, Thomas is continually in attack mode.
“Yeah, that’s what he always says,” Thomas said. “Opposites attract. And we’re totally opposite.”
Isaiah is more Mike Tyson in his prime, and last night he unveiled a little Muhammad Ali.
In the process of taking over the NBA lead in fourth quarter scoring, he whipped out a new move, pointing to his wrist after one hoop to denote the time of the game — the fourth quarter.
“A little bit,” said Thomas with a smile when asked if he had choreographed the maneuver. “I mean, they know what time it is. So, yeah, I thought about that one.”
Over on the bench, Brad Stevens was probably enjoying it too much to be surprised by anything Thomas conjures in the final fateful 12 minutes.
“I mean, he just went to a different level obviously,” said the coach.
Al Horford’s eyes widened when asked about his mate.
“He’s been playing as impressive as I’ve seen someone play,” said the veteran big man who’s been around the NBA’s block a few times. “I mean, he’s been doing it consistently since he’s been back from that injury (strained groin early last month). It’s just been amazing to watch how he just manages to keep doing it over and over.”
And don’t you dare think Thomas is caught off-guard by his late night theatrics.
“I mean, not to, like, sound cocky; I just ... I feel it’s normal,” he said. “Honestly, I work on all those shots that I shoot, and when I’m out there I know the fourth quarter is the time for me to be more aggressive. My teammates look for me to be that, and I just go out there with not a care in the world.”
But Isaiah Thomas does care. About everything. The chip on his shoulder does not weigh him down; rather it acts as jet propulsion. It had not left his mind when he took the Garden floor that friend John Wall had beaten him out Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December.
“You know I’m aware of everything, so you can put it however you want to,” he said after he’d outscored the Wizards’ point guard, 38-9. “I see everything.
“I mean, everything motivates me.”
As if to thank Mayweather afterward, Thomas removed and presented his jersey to him when it was requested.
Then Isaiah went into the hallway and talked smack to the wall.