Next man up.
It has been the often talked-about reality that the Boston Celtics have had to endure for years, as one key player after another goes down only for someone to emerge from the shadows of the bench to deliver a surprisingly strong performance.
That was Daniel Theis on Saturday, whose play enabled Boston to elevate a slim lead into an unexpected slaughter in defeating the Detroit Pistons, 109-89.
Theis, whose foot injury made him questionable to play shortly before tip-off, delivered his best performance in this still-young NBA season.
The second-year forward tallied a season-high 17 points, most of which came in the second quarter which was when Boston (4-2) began to pull away for its second straight win while handing Detroit (4-1) its first loss of the season.
In the second quarter, Theis scored eight points in addition to grabbing four rebounds.
There were legitimate concerns on the Celtics' part prior to the game about not having Aron Baynes -- the league’s leader in defensive rating a year ago, and current leader this season -- who remains out with a hamstring injury.
Andre Drummond has been a double-double waiting to happen every night at center, and Blake Griffin has been off to an MVP candidate-like start to the season.
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So the need for someone, particularly in the front court, to step up was undeniable.
And as it turned out, that player was Theis who delivered one of his best games ever as a Celtic in helping Boston establish its first winning streak of the season with a second straight victory.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s decisive win at Detroit.
Daniel Theis: In what was easily his best game of the season, Daniel Theis was a difference-maker for the Celtics at both ends of the floor as well as on the glass. He came off the Boston bench to tally a season-high 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting to go with eight rebounds.
B.W.A.: Boston’s second unit (aka, Bench With Attitude) had it going on all levels Saturday night whether it was scoring, rebounding or defense. Led by the threesome of Theis, Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier who combined for 49 points, their ability to not just dominate the second unit matchup but the game in general, provided the Celtics with a cushy win in addition to some much-needed rest for veterans Al Horford (21 minutes) and Kyrie Irving (23 minutes).
Gordon Hayward: Being able to make some nice moves and finish at the rim, were both on display with Gordon Hayward’s game Saturday night. He would tally 15 points along with six rebounds.
Andre Drummond: A bloodied nose in the third quarter slowed Andre Drummond down briefly, but he still managed to make a significant impact on the game. Drummond came up short with what would have been his fourth double-double of the season, with 18 points and eight rebounds.
Jaylen Brown: You figure at some point Jaylen Brown would get it going offensively. Saturday was that night for Brown who had a season-high 19 points which was also tops among all Celtics.
Stanley Johnson: For most of the first half, Stanley Johnson was Detroit’s most consistent scoring threat. He would finish the night with 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting from the field.
Kyrie Irving: Regaining the shooting stroke we’ve come to expect from Kyrie Irving remains a work in progress. In the meantime, he’s finding other ways to contribute like getting his teammates involved (five assists) and corralling missed shots (seven rebounds).
Blake Griffin: He came into the game as the league’s top scorer, at 33.8 points per game. Boston used a plethora of defenders to make him a non-factor most of the game. Griffin would finish the game with just seven points on 2-for-13 shooting from the field.
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