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How did Isaiah Thomas play in his Lakers debut? All-Star made NBA return on Friday

Isaiah Thomas made essentially the most of his return to the NBA, even when the sport’s consequence did not go to plan for the Lakers.

The 32-year-old guard’s comeback path started final week when he signed a contract with the Denver Nuggets’ G League affiliate, Grand Rapids Gold, to show he nonetheless belongs in the NBA. It did not take lengthy for him to get the popularity he was searching for, pouring in 42 factors in his G League debut on Thursday to place scouts, coaches, executives and gamers on discover.

Just sooner or later later, in mild of the current COVID-19 outbreak that has ravaged greater than a handful of NBA rosters, it was reported that Thomas would signal with the shorthanded Lakers on a 10-day hardship contract, giving him the chance he deserved to try to make a return to the league.

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MORE: What is a 10-day hardship contract?

His pathway to enjoying time took a slight hit when star guard Russell Westbrook was reactivated simply sooner or later after being positioned on the COVID-19 record attributable to adverse exams, however because it turned out, Thomas nonetheless noticed greater than sufficient minutes to point out what he is able to in a decreased position.

For extra on the two-time All-Star’s return to the NBA, we have now you coated beneath.

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How did Isaiah Thomas play in his Lakers debut?

Even although the Lakers had been trounced by the Timberwolves, Thomas nonetheless made his impression felt.

In 22 minutes off the bench, Thomas went for 19 factors, capturing 5-of-12 from the sphere, 2-for-6 from 3-point vary and 7-for-9 from the free throw line.

According to StatMuse, solely Carmelo Anthony and Malik Monk have scored extra factors in a single sport off the bench for the Lakers this season.

The greatest distinction of this model of IT in comparison with the variations we noticed with the Wizards in 2019-20 and the Pelicans (in three video games on a 10-day contract) final season? Looking far more wholesome since making a full restoration from a devastating hip harm, he had his fast first step again, driving to the basket typically as an alternative of simply settling for outdoor jumpers.

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His first bucket was a floater in the lane – a vital shot to have in the arsenal for a 5-foot-9 guard – and he knocked down a couple of of these all through the evening.

His 9 free throw makes an attempt had been essentially the most he has had in a sport since Dec. 19, 2019 with the Wizards, proving that he was again to attacking the rim like his All-Star days.

On this 10-day contract, Thomas’ job is to eat up bench minutes and be an expert scorer. He did additionally chip in two boards, one help and one “block” (which was actually a strip steal), recording a +/- of minus-one, which was the very best mark of any Lakers participant that performed over 20 minutes.

It was nice to see Thomas again on an NBA ground and even higher to see that he blended in as if he by no means left.

What did Isaiah Thomas say on his Lakers debut?

It was an extended journey again to the league for the previous All-NBA guard and after the sport, he gave some heartfelt, insightful quotes on his return.

Per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Thomas acknowledged, “My low moments had been simply not having the ability to play on the stage I’m accustomed to enjoying at. Like, that was very irritating when your thoughts is telling you to do one thing however your physique will not will let you do it.

“That was my first main harm in order that was like, basketball is all the pieces to me, so it actually stopped me from being who I’m. … Those had been a number of the lowest moments of my life.”

Thomas continued, “Obviously, in ’17, my sister handed away after which like all the pieces went downhill it felt like. But I laid on my assist system, which is my household.

“The dopest second for me? When I checked into the sport they usually actually cheered for me. And that is an away sport. Those moments imply extra to me than something, simply because individuals respect what I do and other people respect the grind that I’m on.

“This complete scenario, I’m so grateful for it. I by no means thought I might … not saying I did not assume I’d be again in the NBA, I simply by no means thought I’d really feel this manner once more. Like, I’ve no limitations with my physique, with my hip, and that is why I simply smile a lot as a result of I’m simply in an amazing place mentally and an amazing place bodily.”

Thomas and the Lakers return to motion on Sunday, Dec. 19 towards the Chicago Bulls.

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