CHICAGO — Isaiah Thomas’ first public comments since losing his sister on April 15 were preceded by a bang. Down went his son James as he and brother Jaiden preceded Isaiah onto the podium in the interview room at the United Center.

Reporters had been asked not to inquire about the tragic death of Chyna in a car accident, and both they and Isaiah walked the fine line. He was still largely his brash self on the subject of his game, but the emotions are still close to his surface and broke through at times after he’d gone for 33 points in the Celtics’ series-tying 104-95 victory.

Asked first about the numerous defenders the Bulls have thrown at him this series, the old Isaiah shone through.

“Not one man can guard me,” Thomas said. “And that’s just the confidence I have, but also my coaching staff and my teammates put me in position to be successful. So no matter what the other teams are doing, Brad (Stevens, the Celtics coach) figures it out and puts me in the position to be the best player I can be, and my teammates allow me to be that, as well.”

Then Thomas acknowledged that, yes, he comes back to his heartbreak as soon as he leaves the floor and showers the game from his physical being. Still, he has been able to raise his game, last night scoring 10 points and assisting on the other two in a 12-0 third-quarter run after the Bulls had erased a 20-point spread and gone ahead by two points.

“I mean, like, mentally and emotionally, I’m not here,” Thomas said. “I just feed off what the guys give me. They give me . . . they give me a lot of confidence, so I can’t do without those guys. They believe in me, and being here is what makes me, I guess, sane, and makes me feel somewhat normal, I mean, through this tough time.”

In the next moment, we were back to the mundane, as Bulls Coach Fred Hoiberg’s postgame comments to the effect of him being an impossible cover as long as, he alleged, Thomas is allowed to carry the ball as he dribbles.

Isaiah grinned a bit.

“I mean, that’s not the reason why I’m an impossible cover, but it is what it is,” he said as his sons, seated to his right broke into laughter.

“It’s not that funny,” Thomas said, turning toward them. “I don’t know, I guess he’s going to just keep saying it, but I’ve been dribbling that way my whole life, so I don’t know what to say to that.

“I don’t think I’ve been called for it one time this year, so I don’t think that would change. I could see if I’ve been called for it a couple of times a game, but I can’t recall one time this season I’ve been called for it.”

He was called for, however, by Stevens in that third quarter, going back into the game with four fouls and then rescuing the Celtics with the aforementioned run.

“Just to try to get control of the game, make plays not just for myself but for my teammates, and that was the biggest thing, for me to end the quarter the right way,” he said of his plan. “They started the quarter off really well defending us. We weren’t making shots. We turned the ball over .. . well, I turned the ball over a few times. And on top of that I got in foul trouble. So I just wanted to end the quarter off well, and I happened to make plays and my teammates happened to get me open to be able to go downhill and get in the paint.

“They were picking me up full court. They were trying to pressure, and we knew we just had to space the floor and try to attack them. And, like I said, Brad and the coaching staff figured out what they were doing, and we wanted to set the picks as high as possible and then kind of let me go downhill. And I just tried to make plays, like I said, not just for myself but for my teammates. And with guys like Gerald (Green) out there and Avery (Bradley) and guys that can shoot the ball, you’ve got to pick your poison.”

Before he left with his mates for the flight home, Thomas addressed the importance of his teammates and coaching staff in this last difficult week.

He paused and there appeared to be moisture at the edges of his eyes.

“They’ve – they’ve been really important,” he said, his voice a bit softer. “I mean, they’ve been everything. This organization is the best organization there is, from the people who work in the Garden to the players, the coaches, everybody who’s a part of the Celtics – they’ve been supportive. The whole world has really. So, really, I can’t say enough about that.”