The Cleveland Cavaliers are the two-time defending Eastern Conference champs and have fought off challenges left and right but now, there’s one that has begun to talk as if he’s taken the champs to a seven games series and lost on a last-second shot. After the Boston Celtics defeated the Cavaliers Wednesday night, Celtics PG Isaiah Thomas went on record and said.
“Nobody holds me in check. Don’t say that,” Thomas said. “I made plays. I average 30 points for a reason.
In this day and age trash talking is a part of the game and how we grew up playing but it was the “I average 30 points for a reason” that struck me as off-base. Thomas is a great player and has earned the right to brag, but just a little. Yes, it was a highly contested game between two teams many have picked to meet in the East Finals but what have the Celtics done, or Thomas for that matter that he has his chest poked out so far?
There’s a saying; “Don’t wake the sleeping giant”. Well, that may have been just what Thomas did Wednesday night. I can’t argue the fact that he does score 30 points a game but he also must remember that this is the regular season and the Cavs were just waiting for someone to try to stake claim to their throne. The last two seasons has ended with the Celtics being bounced in the first round. With the Celtics sporting the 2nd best record in the East, only behind those same Cavaliers they just beat, Thomas is riding a high that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving will love to bring down if they were to meet in the ECF.
What happens in the playoffs when players begin to double him as teams can now focus their defensive attention to one team over the course of a week instead of four different during the regular season? This is new territory for Thomas and the Celtics and to say that this has gone to his head may be an understatement.
I love Thomas’ game, I think he has brought the excitement of the little man back into the NBA but to be bragging that no one can check him is a bit reserved for players that have hardware and know for sure they have a bust ready to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame. What Thomas did do was put a Texas-sized target, not only on his back but the Celtics as a whole. His teammates will have his back but in the back of their heads, they must be thinking why did he have to say that to the Cavaliers?
The Cavs are not the Brooklyn Nets and Irving is not Jeremy Lin. These are the same Cavs who stormed back from a 3-1 hole against Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors last year in the NBA Finals. James and the Cavs have the war scars to talk this, but Thomas does not. He had a great game and is in the midst of a better season but his adrenaline may have become bulletin board material for a team that needed no extra motivation.
Be careful what you wish for.