Bulls beat Celtics 101-94; Thomas plays after sister's death

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports	 Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Flustered through the first three quarters, Jimmy Butler produced a breakout final period that was enough to carry the Chicago Bulls past the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the opener of a first-round Eastern Conference playoff series. He went through shootaround Sunday morning and has ultimately decided that he will give it a go.

Chicago prevailed on an emotional night in Boston, as Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas played the day after his younger sister, Chyna, was killed in a auto crash.

Isaiah Thomas, who learned of her death after practice Saturday, did not speak to reporters and was "in a state of shock", Celtics Coach Brad Stevens said.

Condolences have poured in from around the league, from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and various players and friends.

Chyna Thomas died at the scene of the accident on the shoulder of I-5, according to the Washington State Patrol who identified her. He somehow plays like that ... The fact that he's even here is just a lot of credit to him.

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"It's not always easy throughout an 82-game schedule to be at your very best, but these guys are very consistent", Stevens said. "I think we all know that, I think they know that".

"We're never going to make excuses, but this is hard", Horford said. "Those have got to come in his own time and then we will adjust accordingly". "I'm not going to ask him or make him make those decisions (tonight)".

The Bulls were among the first National Basketball Association teams to release a statement of condolence for Thomas on Saturday.

In the four games played during the regular season between two teams, both teams have won two games each. We use the words "used to" for a reason, a reason you're about to witness for yourself.

"I know other teammates that I have can guard him, that want to guard him, that look forward to that matchup just as much as I do", Butler said.

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