CHICAGO -- Isaiah Thomas has endured an emotional and difficult week following the recent death of his sister, but he has still managed to elevate his game in the playoffs.
Speaking for the first time since his sister, Chyna, died on April 15 in a single-vehicle car crash, the Boston Celtics star said he is thankful for the support of his teammates.
"Mentally and emotionally, I'm not here, so I just feed off what the guys give me," Thomas said on Sunday.
Thomas delivered 33 points and seven assists as the Celtics drew even in their first-round playoff series with a 104-95 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
"(My teammates) give me a lot of confidence. I can't do it without those guys. They believe in me," Thomas said. "Being here is what makes me, I guess, sane. It makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times."
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he is in awe of how Thomas is handling himself both on and off the court.
"I can't believe it," said Stevens. "I tried to say that earlier this week. But what he's been through and the day-to-day, it's been unfathomable the way that he's performed on the court.
"It's been really incredible. And it didn't go our way in Boston, but the guys were resilient enough to come back and tie this up. What he has done has been remarkable."
But when it comes to basketball not everyone is willing to cut Thomas some slack this week.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg is taking exception to Thomas's offensive style and claimed that Thomas regularly gets away with carrying the basketball.
"He had a hell of a game tonight. But when you're allowed to discontinue your dribble on every possession, he's impossible to guard," Hoiberg said.
"He's impossible to guard when you're able to put your hand underneath the ball and take two or three steps and put it back down. It's impossible to guard him in those situations."
Asked about Hoiberg's comments, Thomas said he has no plans to change his style of play.
"That's not the reason I'm an impossible cover. I guess (Hoiberg) is just going to continue to say it. I've been dribbling that way my whole life."
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