For Daniel Theis, the plan for All-Star break was to spend some time with his family at Disneyland.
“Can’t wait, get out of the cold a little,” a grinning Theis told NBC Sports Boston shortly before the break. “It’ll be fun.”
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Well, it looked like he was enjoying himself in his first game back from the break, scoring a career-high 19 points in Boston’s 110-98 win in Detroit.
It was a strong performance, the kind that both Theis and the Celtics wouldn’t mind an encore of tonight when Boston takes on the New York Knicks.
New York (24-36) and Boston (41-19) split the first two meetings, with the home team emerging with the victory. But tonight’s game has lost a little bit of its luster for several reasons. First and foremost, Kristaps Porzingis being lost for the season with an ACL injury weakens a Knicks team that wasn’t all that good to begin with.
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Since his injury, the Knicks are 1-4, which includes a 120-113 win over the Orlando Magic on Thursday night.
That victory raised New York’s record without Porzingis this season to 2-11. The other victory without Porzingis came on Dec. 16 when they knocked off the Oklahoma City Thunder and ex-Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, 111-96.
In that game, New York’s Michael Beasley went off for 30 points, which isn’t all that surprising.
Most people know Beasley is a feast-or-famine scorer who can dominate some nights, disappear others.
And there’s Theis, who all season has played at a steady pace, both in his impact and just his overall demeanor.
When he has struggled to get time on the floor, there have been no complaints publicly. The times that he has played exceptionally well, like last night, his reaction has been of humility in the form of thanking his teammates and what they did that helped him be successful.
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Even if he didn’t score a career-high in points and doesn’t grab rebounds at an insane DeAndre Jordan-like rate, Theis’ contributions to the Celtics this season have not gone unnoticed.
“He’s been a big part of our team all year,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “He’s a really reliable guy.”
And quick to adapt to change, even when it may not necessarily be to his benefit.
“Obviously with adding Greg [Monroe], you get a few less reps,” Stevens said. “But a guy like Theis is always ready, and always does what he does.”
While Theis’ play on Friday may have been par for the course in Stevens’ eyes, that didn’t stop the larger-than-usual crowds of media from gathering to talk with the 25-year-old German after the game.
“I’m just happy, it was a good day for me,” Theis said. “Germany beat Canada in hockey; we won here, so I’m happy.”