addByline("Taylor C. Snow", "Celtics.com", "taylorcsnow");
SACRAMENTO – The King in the Fourth of basketball took a lesson Sunday night from the King in the Fourth of football.
Isaiah Thomas, along with the rest of mankind, watched in disbelief as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots completed one of the most improbable comebacks in professional sports history by overcoming a 25-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons for the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl title.
“It was unbelievable,” Thomas said Tuesday night before his Celtics practiced at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. “That was probably the best game I’ve ever seen.”
Thomas was especially impressed by Brady’s late-game heroics, as he rallied the Patriots from a 28-9 fourth-quarter deficit to a 34-28 overtime win. Many drew a comparison between Brady’s clutch effort and the recent string of fourth-quarter performances that Thomas has produced for the Celtics.
Thomas is currently averaging 10.7 points per fourth quarter, which is the most in the NBA in at least 20 seasons.
Though, IT may not be ready to compare his clutch ability to that of Brady – at least not yet.
“People keep talking about it like he took a page from my book,” Thomas said with a grin. “But no, I need to take a page from his. He’s got five rings. It’s unbelievable. That’s the greatest quarterback, football player that’s ever been.”
The Celtics' star point guard has recently formed a friendship with Brady, and the two have become regular texting buddies. Thomas was quick to send the four-time Super Bowl MVP a congratulatory message right after Sunday’s game, and he immediately received a thankful response – along with a motivational note – in return.
“I texted Brady and right after he texted me, and he said, ‘It’s not over till it’s over,’” relayed Thomas, who celebrated his 28th birthday Tuesday. “He was just proud of his teammates. That's what he texted back, that he was proud of the team, proud of the city. No one gave up and they just kept fighting.
“Then he was like, ‘It’s your turn next.’ So now he’s putting the pressure on us, but hopefully we can make something happen.”
Thomas wasn’t the only Celtic who drew motivation from New England’s epic championship performance. Jonas Jerebko, who admittedly had never watched an entire football game, could not pry himself away from his television Sunday night as the Patriots pulled off their inspirational comeback.
“Just to see a Boston team win like that, it was great,” said Jerebko. “And obviously that’s the main goal with my basketball career, is to win a championship. And to do it in Boston would be something special, so that’s what we’re working towards.”
The Patriots have also gained a fan in Brad Stevens. As a coach, he admires the winning culture that Bill Belichick has created in New England, and he was happy to see it pay off for his peer once again.
“It was amazing – that fourth quarter and overtime,” said Stevens. “We’ve all been in games where comebacks occur, and you’ve been on the good end of it and the bad end of it. But you had the sense that if they had the ball enough times they weren’t going to lose.
“It was fun to watch and it’s really cool to see what they’ve been able to put together over there. And obviously when you’ve got an all-time great in Brady, and Belichick with what he’s been able to do, it’s just a special culture and winning program over there.”
The Patriots have established the type of culture and track record of success that any professional sports team should strive to achieve. Their recent winning ways have certainly inspired their neighbors at TD Garden, as the rising Celtics are clearly motivated to take a page from New England’s book of recent championship success.