BOSTON – Nothing it seems can stop Isaiah Thomas this postseason — be it pains big or small.
The All-Star led the Celtics past Chicago in a haze after learning the day before that playoff series began that his younger sister, Chyna Thomas, had died in a car accident outside of his native Tacoma, Wash.
That pain persisted on the eve of Boston's second-round pairing with the Washington Wizards, when he flew cross-country to attend her funeral.
Then Sunday's game brought a latest dose of adversity, when he had one of his front teeth dislodged after an early-game collision. But as he has done all postseason, he continued to find a way to push through it.
Thomas had 33 points and nine assists, and the Celtics made 19 three-pointers to beat the Wizards 123-111 and take a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal matchup.
"I got in at 4 a.m.," Thomas said of his second cross-country flight to Washington in two weeks. "It's tough, but it's the playoffs so there are no excuses. I decided to play, and I just tried to give it all for my team."
He flew to the funeral with Boston President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge and assistant coach Jerome Allen. During player introductions, Thomas pointed to the TD Garden rafters when his name was called.
Al Horford added 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Jae Crowder finished with a career playoff-high 24 points.
The Wizards were more energetic at the outset, jumping out to a 16-0 lead — "I didn't know if we'd ever score," Boston coach Brad Stevens said — but the Celtics rallied with Thomas briefly sidelined while getting his tooth repositioned.
Thomas found the tooth during a timeout, but he began the second quarter in the locker room. His teammates went on a 13-2 run without him to cut into Washington's lead. Boston led by 15 by the end of the third.
Bradley Beal led Washington with 27 points. John Wall added 20 points and 16 assists.
"They were a little more aggressive than we were," Beal said. "Our defense slipped a little. We lacked some IQ and focus."