Isaiah Thomas’s career night against Miami was Boston’s biggest scoring explosion in more than 30 years.
The Celtics’ All-Star point guard dropped a career-high 52 points in a 117–114 home win on Friday, shooting 15-of-26 from the field, 9-of-13 from deep and 13-of-13 from the line. Thomas scored 29 of Boston’s 35 points in the fourth quarter, setting a new franchise record for points in a quarter and drawing “MVP” chants from the home crowd down the stretch.
The last player to score at least 52 points for the Celtics? Hall of Fame forward Larry Bird, who had 60 points against the Hawks on Mar. 12, 1985. Thomas joins Bird (60, 53, 50, 50), Sam Jones (51), Kevin McHale (56) and Paul Pierce (50) as the only Boston players to top 50 points in a game since 1963.
Thomas, who is locked in a fierce battle for an All-Star spot with fellow East point guards like Kyle Lowry, Kyrie Irving, John Wall and Kemba Walker, also became just the sixth player to score 50+ points this season. He joined Klay Thompson (60), DeMarcus Cousins (55), Wall (52), Russell Westbrook (51) and Anthony Davis (50).
Of course, what really sets Thomas apart from both his Celtics predecessors and his superstar contemporaries is his listed height of 5’9”. Thomas’ 52 points are the most by a player listed at 5' 9" or shorter since Houston’s Calvin Murphy scored 57 points against the Nets on March 18, 1978.
Goran Dragic, Miami’s starting point guard, sat out Friday with back tightness.
Boston improved to 20–14. Miami fell to 10–24.