Theis continues to be pleasant surprise and key contributor for Celtics

Theis continues to be pleasant surprise and key contributor for Celtics

BOSTON – When it comes to playing time, Daniel Theis has no idea how much action he’ll see, or whether he will even play for that matter.

You hear players talk all the time about staying ready at a moment’s notice, about making the most of whatever minutes they get with no promises that it’ll lead to more playing time.

But it’s rare to see a player, an NBA rookie nonetheless, embrace such a role with such uncertainty.

Which is why Theis has been such a pleasant surprise for the Celtics who absolutely smashed the Sacramento Kings, 113-86, on Wednesday.


The 6-foot-9 rookie from Germany finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for his first career NBA double-double.

Like most newcomers to the NBA, Theis acknowledged the biggest adjustment early on for him was the game being so much quicker than what he was accustomed to in Germany.

“I struggled a little bit in the preseason,” he admitted. “But now it’s better. I’m getting used to it.”

And his teammates are getting used to his all-out hustle and energy which has made him a key contributor off the bench and an analytics star for this team.

For most of this season, Theis (pronounced Tice) has been among the Celtics' most productive rebounders.

He has appeared in seven of Boston’s eight games, and has a rebounding percentage of .205, which is tops among all his teammates.

Theis has been especially effective on the offensive glass which is where four of his 10 rebounds came from against the Kings

This season, he has an offensive rebound percentage of .175 which leads all Celtics who average at least 10 minutes played per game and ranks fifth among all NBA players who play as much (he averages 14.6 minutes per game) as he does, or more. 

“He just has a good motor to him,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “He’s always in good position. Never quits on plays. He’s got good balance as we can see, and he’s awfully long so he keeps his hands … even when he doesn’t get it, he tips it, kind of keeps it alive.”

There are many who have been surprised at how quickly the 25-year-old Theis has adjusted to the NBA game.

“I mean, it’s still basketball,” he said. “I played in Europe for the last seven years. It’s just a little bit faster here, I needed some time to get used to it. With the team we have, like Al (Horford) was helping me a lot in the preseason, Aron (Baynes) helped me a lot in just talking to me about the game and how Brad (Stevens) wants us to play.”

And those conversations have helped Theis navigate his way on to the floor in what has been a significant role which has contributed to the team winning its last six games which is the longest current winning streak in the NBA.

Theis came into Wednesday’s game averaging 5.2 points per game, but he’s fully aware how to score points with his head coach – rebound the ball.

“That’s my job here,” Theis said. “I just want to play with energy and go for rebounds, offensive rebounds.”


Inconsistency leads Celtics to another disappointing loss


Inconsistency leads Celtics to another disappointing loss

LOS ANGELES -- Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 108-107 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, which extended their losing streak to four in a row.


Kyle Kuzma: He’s not an All-Star, but he delivered an all-star worthy performance on Tuesday. He led the Lakers with 28 points off the bench while shooting 10-for-16 from the field.

Kyrie Irving: This was yet another game in which Irving played at an elite level only to come up short. He led all scorers with 33 points 13-for-24 shooting.


Marcus Smart: While he may have come up short in missing the potential game-winner, Smart made a lot of winning plays at both ends of the floor. He would finish with 22 points on 7-for-13 shooting with eight assists and just one turnover.

Jordan Clarkson: One of the NBA’s better scorers off the bench, Clarkson tallied 22 points on 8-for-17 shooting to go with five rebounds and two steals while logging a team-high 34 minutes.

Julius Randle: His ability to control the action and impact the game around the rim, was huge. He had a double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds while shooting 6-for-12 from the field.

Marcus Morris: His role as a primary scorer off the bench seems to be one well-suited for him. Morris finished with 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting along with seven rebounds and two blocked shots.


Jayson Tatum: Just a bad night on so many fronts for Tatum. He had four points on 1-for-6 shooting with his lone made basket a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.

Celtics rebounding:  Boston has had its share of rebounding struggles in the past, so it wasn’t all that surprising how they lost the battle of the glass. But the Lakers didn’t just beat them; they absolutely dominated them in a much more decisive manner than the final rebounding numbers – 51 for the Lakers, 42 for the Celtics – might indicate. The Lakers were especially effective on the offensive boards with 14 that led to 23, second-chance points.

Aron Baynes: The fact that he didn’t score wasn’t the problem. His struggles had more to do with his defense which wasn’t nearly as good as we’re accustomed to seeing. A big part of that had to do with foul trouble.

Free throw shooting: Boston hasn’t had a friendly whistle in quite a while, but Tuesday was one of the more glaringly obvious games in which the Celtics’ lack of free throw attempts was a major factor in the game’s outcome. Put it like this: The Lakers had more free throws by halftime (13) than the Celtics had for the entire game (10). The Lakers would finish 21-for-36 from the line while Boston was 8-for-10.


Smart's last-second shot misses in 108-107 loss to Lakers

Smart's last-second shot misses in 108-107 loss to Lakers

LOS ANGELES – The Boston Celtics failed to rebound, literally and figuratively, on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers, resulting in a 108-107 loss that extended their season-long losing streak to four in a row.

Marcus Smart’s potential game-winning shot hit the back of the rim as time expired.

Boston (34-14) got another monster game from Kyrie Irving who led all scorers with 33 points. Smart had 22 points, only the second time this season he has had 20 or more points in a game.

But this game was decided by the Lakers’ dominance on the glass, as they out-rebounded Boston 51-42 which included a 14-7 advantage on the offensive glass which led to 23 second-chance points for the Lakers (18-29).

However, the Celtics did make things interesting.

A 3-pointer by Terry Rozier made it a 106-103 game wit 23.8 seconds to play.

Josh Hart was fouled by Al Horford, but missed both free throws.

Julius Randle grabbed the miss, but fouled Marcus Smart who went to the free throw line and made a pair that cut the Lakers lead to 106-105 with less than 20 seconds to play.

Boston tried to steal the ball, but wound up fouling Jordan Clarkson who made a pair of free throws with 11.6 seconds to push the Lakers lead to 108-105.

After a Celtics time-out, Terry Rozier scored on a driving lay-up with 7.3 seconds to play.

The Lakers’ Kentavious Pope-Caldwell missed a pair of free throws in the closing seconds as well, which set up Boston’s potential game-winner by Smart.

Despite the Lakers giving Boston one opportunity after another to win the game, the Celtics consistently fell short in a game that was there for the taking.

Following a Celtics time-out with 6:40 to play, Boston seemed on its was re-establishing control when Marcus Smart stole the ball and had a 2-on-1 break with Jaylen Brown and the Celtics ahead 91-90.

Rather than driving in for the lay-up, Smart threw a lob pass to Brown for a dunk that Brown missed.

That was just what the Lakers needed, as they scored on the ensuing possession which was the beginning of 9-2 Lakers run that proved to be a surge that Boston could not overcome.

The close finish was indicative of how the game began with neither team showing any signs in the first quarter of taking control.  

The Celtics began to put some separation between themselves and the Lakers in the second quarter.

Trailing 33-32, Boston went on a 7-0 run capped off by a 3-pointer by Irving.

The Celtics would eventually pull ahead by 14 points before settling in for a comfortable 53-45 halftime lead.