Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving showered Isaiah Thomas with praise in advance of his return to game action and said that regardless of whether he plays or not when the Cleveland Cavaliers visit TD Garden on Wednesday night, Irving expects Thomas will be showered with affection. The Celtics traded Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets' unprotected 2018 first-round pick and the Miami Heat's 2020 second-round pick to the Cavaliers in exchange for Irving in August. With Thomas set to make his season debut soon after missing the start of the season with the hip injury that forced him out of the Eastern Conference finals against the Cavaliers last season, Irving gushed about what Thomas gave to Boston. "That guy put on some performances, epic performances," Irving said. "And, for the city of Boston, what he gave on a consistent basis, you were just wondering how that tough-nosed m-----f----- was just getting it done every single night and demanding from his teammates and playing with an edge that really cemented himself as a premier player in this league. "And you're just nothing short of happy for a guy like that. And whether or not he plays, it's going to be nothing but love for him from Boston." Irving has helped the overhauled Celtics to a 30-10 start to the 2017-18 season. After Sunday's win over the visiting Nets, the Celtics sat atop the Eastern Conference with a four-game lead over the Cavaliers. The Cavaliers defeated the Celtics in the NBA's season-opener, which also served as Irving's first game back in Cleveland.