When the Celtics tip off tonight against the Hawks, Daniel Theis will see a rare familiar face.
The Celts' German forward will have a chance to reunite with one of his fellow countryman, Dennis Schroder.
Theis has nothing but love for his Schroder, a player he has played with for years on various German national teams.
“He just wants to win on the court,” Theis told NBC Sports Boston. “He hates to lose. He gives everything on the court.”
That may be the case, but it certainly hasn’t done much for the Hawks (2-8), who come into tonight’s game with one of the worst records in the NBA.
Despite their struggles, Schroder has distinguished himself as arguably their best player by leading the team in scoring (22.5) and assists (6.6) per game this season.
Schroder has been a player that has managed to get under the skin of players.
The fifth-year guard irked former Celtic Isaiah Thomas and Celtics fans last season when he alleged that Thomas was trash-talking about his parents following a 103-101 Boston win at Atlanta in which Thomas drained the game-winning shot.
“I’m playing basketball,” Schroder told reporters after the game. “If he thinks that he got to curse at my mom or say some dumb stuff about my family, that has nothing to do with basketball. That’s his choice. I’ve got too much class for that. Next one, we are going to get it.”
Shortly after learning of Schroder’s comments, Thomas strongly denied any such exchange took place.
“I’m going to do whatever I can to make my team win a game,” Thomas, now with the Cleveland, said at the time. “But I don’t bring parents in it, I don’t bring family. I don’t even know his mom to curse at her like he said I did, or whatever he’s lying about.”
Theis knows Schroder can rub some folks the wrong way, but it should never be taken personal.
“He’s just a competitor,” Theis said. “After games, he wouldn’t go for an argument after the game. Everybody on the court wants to win. Same with Dennis; he wants to win and plays hard, plays to win.”