Thomas crashed hard to the floor after drawing contact from Dwyane Wade while driving hard into a crowd of white jerseys with less than four minutes to play. Thomas completed the layup and free throw as part of another fourth-quarter outburst that lifted Boston to a much-needed 100-90 triumph over the Miami Heat.
Thomas, who the team later announced suffered a bruised lower back and a bruised right elbow, scored 12 of his team-high 25 points in the final frame, while fellow trade deadline acquisition Gigi Datome matched his NBA career high with 13 points. Brandon Bass kicked in 14 points and nine rebounds and was a team-best plus-20 in plus/minus.
Wade tried to carry Miami back and finished with a game-high 34 points on 13-of-23 shooting.
The Heat had pulled within six before Thomas shook Mario Chalmers and accelerated into three white shirts. Wade bumped him near the hoop trying to contest the shot and Thomas landed on his backside, but walked it off after a moment on the floor.
• Mario vs. Luigi: Video gamers everywhere can rejoice after getting to see Mario (Chalmers) vs. Luigi (Datome). Hey, they even got the color schemes right.
• Whiteside ejected: Hassan Whiteside got ejected after drawing a flagrant-2 foul for a dirty hit in which he leveled Kelly Olynyk from behind. Whiteside seemed to loose his cool as Boston pulled away a bit in the third quarter. He finished with 7 points on 2-of-6 shooting with nine rebounds over 21:48. He was minus-15 in plus/minus.
• Turner, Walker ejected too: In the final seconds, Evan Turner and old friend Henry Walker got into a minor dust-up and referees, maybe trying to ensure peace to the final whistle, handed out double technicals and ejected both players.
• What it means: The Celtics improve to 26-36; the Heat fall to 28-35. Coupled with the Hornets getting blown out by the Wizards, Boston made up some ground on its primary playoff competition. Boston is still two games back of Indiana and Charlotte, but moved within 1.5 games of the Heat.