NBA

Isaiah Thomas scores 33 points in Game 1 loss to Bulls a day after the tragic death of his sister

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 10: Isaiah Thomas #4 of the Boston Celtics handles the ball against the Brooklyn Nets on April 10, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 10: Isaiah Thomas #4 of the Boston Celtics handles the ball against the Brooklyn Nets on April 10, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Chicago Bulls came away with a 106-102 win in Boston in Game 1 of their playoff series against the East's top-seeded Celtics, but for Isaiah Thomas, basketball was only a minor distraction to the real-life tragedy he's been dealing with since Saturday.

The 22-year-old sister of Thomas died in a car accident Saturday morning, but Thomas decided to play in Sundays playoff-opener nonetheless. He started off hot with 13 in the first quarter, before finishing with 33 points on 10-of-18 shooting, to go along with five rebounds and six assists.

Isaiah Thomas' 13 point first quarter on @NBAonTNT. pic.twitter.com/kLg00aYNjW

— NBA (@NBA) April 16, 2017

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Thomas was visibly upset before tip-off, but once the game got going, he was able to keep his emotions in check. He had several plays that would qualify as highlights, and his presence on the floor was undoubtedly an inspiration to his teammates.

Isaiah… Count it! And the foul! pic.twitter.com/1ZJFHU8MAz

— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 17, 2017

The details from a pure basketball perspective may trouble the Celtics for more than just one game. Chicago crushed Boston on the offensive glass, and out-rebounded them overall by a 53-36 margin. As good as Thomas was, Jimmy Butler was the best player on the floor, and scored 15 of his 30 points over the final 12 minutes to seal the win for the Bulls.

But this game was about more than a win or aloss for Thomas and the Celtics.

"He was incredible," Brad Stevens says of Isaiah Thomas. "Hes an amazing, amazing player, an amazing person."

— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 17, 2017

Brad Stevens on the C's: "Im not only proud of the effort, but the way they supported [Isaiah]. Couldnt help but be inspired by his play."

— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 17, 2017

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