Isaiah Thomas joins exclusive list that includes Larry Bird as Celtics beat Hawks

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If he hadn’t already, Isaiah Thomas arrived as a star Friday night.

The Celtics guard led his team to a 111-103 win over the Hawks on Friday. Not only that, the diminutive 5-9 guard willed his team to victory with an incredible 42 points-performance, becoming just the ninth player in team history to score more than 40 in a playoff game. 

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Thomas revealed after the game he had received text messages from former NBA greats like Isiah Thomas and Allen Iverson over the past week encouraging him as his team tried to get back into the series. Those messages obviously paid off for the All-Star guard. 

"The great players make adjustments and they go from there," Thomas told NBA TV. 

Beside getting his team back into the series at 2-1, he also joined some rare company.

Of the eight previous Celtics to score 40 or more in a playoff game, four  — Larry Bird, Jo Jo White, Sam Jones and John Havlicek — are in the Hall of Fame. Two others, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, will likely get there as well. Late Celtics great Reggie Lewis and current Kings point guard Rajon Rondo also broke the 40-point mark. 

Thomas was the first player since Havlicek in 1973 to score more than 40 in the playoffs against the Hawks, when he scored 54 points in a 134-109 win.