SAN JUAN – Isaiah Thomas knocked down three quick 3-pointers, showing that his shot is still there.
Knocking off 12 months of rust wasn't quite as easy.
Thomas scored 19 points in his first competitive game in more than a year, helping the U.S. to a 93-77 victory over the Bahamas on Friday in a FIBA AmeriCup qualifying game.
“My first time playing in a little over a year so I was a little rusty, but it felt amazing to be out there competing against really good players and also representing my country,” Thomas said.
The 32-year-old Thomas is a two-time NBA All-Star who scored 28.9 points per game for the Boston Celtics in the 2016-17 season. But he suffered a hip injury late in that season and has never regained that form in limited opportunities.
He decided to play for the Americans partly as a showcase in hopes of earning his way back into the NBA, where he most recently played for Washington last February.
Thomas — like many NBA players — had some trouble adjusting to the ball and the way the international game is officiated. But he was pleased with his movement and conditioning and said he'll clean up his mistakes Saturday.
“The world knows I’ve got what it takes. So ,it's just about showing that I’m healthy,” Thomas said. “My skill didn’t go anywhere, it was just about getting a hundred percent healthy, which I am right now.”