Celtics encouraged by Theis' impressive debut


Celtics encouraged by Theis' impressive debut

WALTHAM -- When you’ve spent as many years playing in Germany as Daniel Theis did, the sight of an NBA scout was nothing unusual. 

But it seemed there was one scout, Benas Matkevicius, who seemed to be at the gym or at his games with regularity.

It wasn’t until he began to have conversations with Austin Ainge, Boston’s director of player personnel, did he learn that Matkevicius was an international scout for the Celtics. 

So while his arrival in Boston may have seemed to come out of left field, the Celtics have had their eye on the 25-year-old Theis (pronounced Tice) for quite some time. 

“Good player, good defender,” was how Ainge described the 6-foot-9 forward to NBC Sports Boston earlier this summer. “He’s a good, high-energy type of player who can help us.”

He certainly did in Boston’s 94-82 preseason win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.

The 25-year-old Theis is known more for his defense (he was German League’s top defender this past season), but his non-stop movement and all-out energy allowed him to come off the bench and score 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting, to go with seven rebounds and three assists with one steal and one blocked shot in less than 14 minutes.

Of course, it would be a mistake to put too much stock in Theis’ Celtics debut, but the versatility he showed at both ends of the floor was certainly encouraging for a Boston team that has several areas to address in the preseason which includes developing a bench.

Theis, who signed a two-year deal with Boston (the second year is non-guaranteed), will get an opportunity to play his way into a more significant role going forward.

Boston’s Marcus Morris is in Phoenix awaiting a verdict on the trial in which he and his brother Markieff, have been charged with assault charges in connection with an incident in 2015. A ruling is expected to come down sometime this week.

Marcus' absence has created a need for additional help in the frontcourt. And to Theis’ credit, he has made the most of his opportunity to play. 

No one anticipates him playing that well night-in and night-out.

But the fact that Theis was able to do it at a time when there’s so much uncertainty as to how the Celtics will play and which combinations they will go with, it all bodes well for his chances of helping contribute in some capacity this season.

And while the focus for the Celtics is trying to get better from one day to the next, Theis fully embraces the Celtics way of life which is to compete and win championships, as often as possible. 

A four-time German League all-star with Brose Bamberg which plays at the top-tier German League level as well as in Euroleague, Theis has been part of a team that has won championships each of the last three seasons. 

“They like championships here,” said Theis, smiling. “So do I.”

WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Utah Jazz


WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Utah Jazz

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics host the Jazz at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: Slumping Jazz look to break long losing streak in Boston

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Celtics-Jazz preview: Can Utah stop being a pushover?


Celtics-Jazz preview: Can Utah stop being a pushover?

BOSTON -- The last two games have brought out the best and worst in the Celtics offensively.

Against the Chicago Bulls on Monday, Boston scored a season-low 85 points in a 23-point drubbing. They came back on Wednesday to score a season-high 124 points in a six-point win over Denver.

With the Utah Jazz in town, chances are high that we'll see the Celtics settle on being somewhere in the middle offensively, of what we've seen the last two games.

But will that be enough to win?

It will be based on recent history between these two teams at the TD Garden.

Boston (24-6) comes into tonight's game with the best record in the East, but the Celtics' success has been even more pronounced when hosting the Jazz (13-15), losers of nine in a row on the Celtics' home floor.

And the Jazz (13-15) aren't exactly doing much of late to make one believe they're trending in the right direction. They come into tonight's game on a four-game losing streak after having won their previous six games.

More recently, Utah lost 103-100 to Chicago in a game where the Jazz had a number of miscues in the final minute or two of play that ultimately cost them the game.

With 1:28 to play, Donovan Mitchell drove into the lane for a lay-up that cut Chicago's lead to 98-96. A few seconds later, former Providence College star Kris Dunn hit a 17-foot, step-back jumper that gave the Bulls a four-point cushion.

"We've got to play better on the defensive end," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said after the game. "We've been here before, as far as the ball not going in. We have to be more stingy."

Especially against a Celtics team that's coming off its most complete offensive game of the season, which is even more impressive when you consider they did so without Al Horford (rest), who has been instrumental at both ends of the floor.

"Well, that was the only way we were going to win, the way we were guarding and rebounding," said coach Brad Stevens. "We played with very good purpose, good authority on offense, and all that stuff."

They'll need to do more of the same tonight against a Utah Jazz team that, like the Celtics, ranks among the league's best defensive units. Boston's defensive rating of 100.3 is tops in the NBA, while the Jazz have a defensive efficiency of 102.1 (fifth-best).

Boston is expected to welcome Horford back tonight, but it's unlikely the same can be said for Marcus Morris (left knee), who has missed the last three games for Boston.

Regardless of who is in the lineup, the Celtics have been a ‘next man up' team all season which has been among the reasons why they have been among the NBA's best teams all season.

"We're trying to find that consistent base where we can just be consistent base where we can just be consistent throughout the whole season," said Jaylen Brown. "We've got to come out and play. I think that's what Brad says all the time. He preaches the difference between being good and great is consistency, so that's one of the things we strived to get better at."