Went to watch friend of mine and Tacoma native Isaiah Thomas last night playing for the Suns down the street for our Super Bowl hotel. He lit up the Wizards with 18 points in just 20 minutes as Phoenix won. He shoots a lot more 3-pointers than I've seen him do before -- all four of his makes were 3's -- in what last night anyway was an evolution of his game when bigger guards (every one he plays against) deny him the lane.
Thomas is in the first months of the four-year, $27 million contract that wowed him when the Suns offered it last summer, after he began his career with the Sacramento Kings. Now Thomas is wowing Phoenix. He is averaging 15.4 points per game, right on his career average. He had 25 points Sunday against the Clippers and 22 two nights before that against Houston. And a Suns official told me last night the organization and fans already love him. How much?
That night is Monday here, the day after the Seahawks-Patriots Super Bowl.
We said hey to each other after the game. He said hi to everyone back in Tacoma. And, yes, he was smiling as he always does. I told him that, and he tweeted this:
Sorry for the self-plug there, but like I said we're pals -- back to my days covering him for the Associated Press and then as the writing director for Washington Huskies athletics before this job. Sitting five feet behind Lorenzo Romar at Staples Center in Los Angeles (dark suit, just over the "P" in the farthest left "Pacific Life" ad in the clip below) when I.T. swished his "cold-blooded" jumper at the overtime buzzer to beat Arizona and win the 2011 Pac-10 title remains a highlight drama moment of my writing career.
Seahawks defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril were at the game, which began at 8:30 local time and ended around 11. They sat in the first row behind one of the baselines. When the big video scoreboard showed a close-up of them late in the game, the Arizonans booed the local Cardinals' NFC West rivals. The local paper's photographer captured the, um, warm-as-the-desert-sun welcome:
And Bennett had a coy response:
Not every fan was against them.