By Brian Tinsman

WASHINGTON — How tough is Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas? He started out the weekend burying his sister, who died in a traffic accident earlier this month. He made it back to Boston at 4 a.m., slept and made it in time to start Game 1 with his teammates vs. the Washington Wizards.

Whatever emotional baggage he has been carrying, he put it aside at the opening tip-off, playing the type of hard-nosed defense that the NBA has come to expect.

If only it was hard-toothed.

In the first quarter, Wizards point guard John Wall fired a pass to Otto Porter Jr., whose elbow knocked Thomas’ tooth clean out of his mouth. Check out the replay below:

The amazing part is that Thomas took his tooth to the sideline, stayed in the game, and dominated the Wizards for 33 points. After the game, he acknowledged that the injury was somewhat ironic.

“It just bothers me to talk. My tongue goes right through my tooth [hole],” he said with a toothy grin. “I’ve never had dental problems so this is new. I’ve always had teammates who I’ve always clowned about their tooth being out. Now I’m one of them.

“Hopefully we can replace it as soon as possible.”

Dental logistics aside, expect Thomas to be a force to be reckoned with throughout the duration of this series and beyond. The tragic loss of his sister have unlocked a new level of focus in his game. “Basketball, when I’m on the court, it just keeps me going,” he told the TV broadcast after the game. “I do everything for my sister now.”


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