Isaiah Thomas is playing through tears after the April 15 death of his sister, drawing strength from the rest of the Boston Celtics. The former UW star scored 33 points, and the Celtics beat the Bulls 104-95 to tie their playoff series at 2-all.

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CHICAGO – Isaiah Thomas is playing through tears after the death of his sister, drawing strength from the rest of the Boston Celtics.

They found another gear in Chicago.

Thomas scored 33 points, and the Celtics beat the Bulls 104-95 on Sunday to tie their best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round playoff series at 2-all.

Former Washington Huskies standout Thomas’ life changed April 15 when his 22-year-old sister, Chyna, died in a one-car crash in Federal Way. He spent time with his family last week in Tacoma between games in Boston and Chicago.

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“Mentally and emotionally, I’m not here so I just feed off what the guys give me,” Thomas said. “They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me and being here is what makes me feel sane and somewhat normal through these tough times.”

Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 33 points and nine assists.

Game 5 in a series where the road team has won each game is Wednesday in Boston.

Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg praised Thomas as an “unbelievable competitor” and a “warrior,” but he also insisted the All-Star guard is getting away with carrying the ball when he dribbles.

“When you’re allowed to discontinue your dribble on every possession, he’s impossible to guard,” Hoiberg said. “When you’re able to put your hand underneath the ball and take two or three steps and put it back down, it’s impossible to guard him in those situations.”

Thomas agreed he is just about impossible to defend, saying “not one man can guard me.”

As for Hoiberg’s comment?

“That’s not the reason why I’m impossible to cover,” Thomas said. “I’ve been dribbling that way my whole life.”

Other games

Cavaliers 106, at Pacers 102

LeBron James made a three-pointer with 68 seconds left, helping defending league champion Cleveland sweep Indiana in a first-round East series.

James finished with 33 points and 10 rebounds. He set a league record with his 10th career playoff sweep.

Lance Stephenson scored 22 points for Indiana. Paul George of the Pacers had 15 and missed a three-pointer in the closing seconds that perhaps could have led to overtime.

Rockets 113, at Thunder 109

Nene scored 28 points on 12-for-12 shooting from the field, and Houston grabbed a 3-1 lead over Oklahoma City in their first-round West series.

Nene, who also had 10 rebounds, helped the Rockets overcome an off night by James Harden, who finished with 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting.

“That’s what a team is for,” Harden said. “It’s not just one guy. I’ve believed in trusting these guys all year long.”

Oklahoma City superstar Russell Westbrook had a triple-double by halftime and finished with 35 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists.

At Jazz 105, Clippers 98

Joe Johnson scored 28 points, and Utah beat Los Angeles in Game 4 to even their West first-round series at two games apiece.

Johnson, who made the winning shot in Game 1, scored 11 straight Jazz points during one stretch in the fourth quarter.

Chris Paul had 27 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds for the Clippers, who will be without All-Star forward Blake Griffin (toe injury in Game 3) for the rest of the playoffs. Jamal Crawford, a graduate of Rainier Beach High in Seattle, added 25 points for the Clippers.