Isaiah Thomas plans to fly home to Tacoma, Wash., after Friday’s Game 6 between his Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls to attend funeral services for his younger sister, Chyna, who died in a tragic car crash on April 15.
After the Celtics and Bulls play Game 6 at the United Center on Friday night, Thomas is scheduled to fly to Tacoma to attend his sister’s funeral at noon on Saturday. If the Celtics win Game 6, this series will be over. But if Chicago wins, Game 7 will be played in Boston at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
This will be Thomas’s second trip home since his sister’s death. He traveled there for two days after Game 2 so he could grieve with family and friends. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said on Thursday he has once again told Thomas he should stay home in Tacoma for as long as he needs.
“The support has been amazing,” Thomas’s close friend, Alonzo Weatherby, said by phone on Thursday. “It’s meant the world for Brad to tell Isaiah he has as much time as he wants. Basically, don’t come back until you’re ready to. This is family before anything, and that means the world.”
Chyna J. Thomas, 22, died in a one-car crash on Interstate 5 in Tacoma, Wash., at around 5 a.m. on Saturday morning. According to the Washington State Patrol, she was not wearing a seatbelt, and she died at the scene of the crash.
After some deliberation, Thomas elected to play in Game 1 of the Celtics’ opening-round series with the Bulls. He flew back to Tacoma after Game 2 to be with his family and see to arrangements before returning to the Celtics before Game 3 in Chicago.
Despite playing through unthinkable grief, Thomas has starred during this series, averaging a team-high 25.2 points, 5.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game, helping Boston come back from an 0-2 deficit to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“Man, I’m just taking it day by day,” Thomas said Tuesday, according to Chris Forsberg of ESPN. “Some days are better than others. I’m not here, man. It’s never going to be the same.”
For now, at least, Thomas has found some semblance of solace on the court.
“Being here, I guess, is what makes me sane,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “It makes me feel somewhat normal through this tough time.”
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