Celtics

Celtics Spotlight: Daniel Theis flew under the radar, but can make an impact

Celtics Spotlight: Daniel Theis flew under the radar, but can make an impact

NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-76ers starts at 6:30pm Wednesday with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 7:30pm.

Amid the frontcourt makeover that the Boston Celtics underwent this offseason following the departures of Al Horford and Aron Baynes, the re-signing of Daniel Theis flew quietly under the radar.

The addition of “Plan A” big man Enes Kanter, the importation of French big man Vincent Poirier, and the progress of second-year rim-rocker Robert Williams drew most of the headlines. Theis, who quietly re-signed to a two-year, $10 million deal, was a bit of an afterthought.

Spotlights: Walker | Smart | Brown | Hayward | Kanter |

Tatum | Fall | Wanamaker | Ojeleye | Edwards | Williams

But it was Theis who played the most consistent two-way ball of the preseason, positioning himself to be a potential starter even if coach Brad Stevens elects to mix and match his bigs based on matchups.

It’s a successful season for Theis if… 

… Stevens leans on the German's versatility. One of the few bigs capable of both rim running and popping beyond the 3-point line, Theis can complement mosts players he’s paired with. Theis shot 38.8 percent beyond the 3-point arc last season and, further removed from the meniscus injury that ended his rookie campaign, he seems springier when lobs come his way. Now in his third season in Boston, Theis has a head start on the rest of the big-man stable and might just parlay that into a workload that exceeds the 900 minutes he’s played each of his first two seasons.

It’s a disappointing season for Theis if… 

… he doesn’t make the sort of strides that allow Stevens to play him against the beefier bigs like Joel Embiid, who often bullied Theis last season. Theis is a solid positional defender but he can’t allow himself to get pushed around near the hoop. Ultimately, that defensive consistency might just dictate his playing time.

2019-2020 Outlook

It’s Theis, Theis, baby. His defensive rating last season was similar to Baynes in comparable minutes. Even as Stevens toys with the idea of playing his bigs in short bursts, Theis will have an opportunity to assert his claim to a much bigger role this season. It’s easy to forget how good he was playing before the meniscus injury in 2018. But he won’t be overlooked this season with the Celtics eager to find a consistent two-way option at the big-man spot.

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Celtics' Marcus Smart (ankle) probable for Wednesday game vs. Clippers

Celtics' Marcus Smart (ankle) probable for Wednesday game vs. Clippers

Marcus Smart is listed as probable for the Celtics' Wednesday night game in against the Clippers in Los Angeles after the guard had to leave the Monday night win in Phoenix with a scary-looking ankle sprain. 

Smart vowed after the game Monday that he would play against the Clippers even after being helped off the court when he was injured in the fourth quarter.

Smart appeared to be moving well on the ankle Tuesday, according to Celtics.com's Marc D'Amico.

Gordon Hayward, recovering from the fractured bone in his hand and expected back around Christmas, is out for the Celtics. 

The Celtics (11-2) sit atop the Eastern Conference standings. Following an opening night loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston won its next 10 before losing to the Sacramento Kings by one point on Sunday and bounced back with the 99-85 victory in Phoenix on Monday night. 

They'll take on the Clippers on Wednesday and Denver Nuggets on Friday to complete their Western trip before returning home to face the Kings and Brooklyn Nets next week. 

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Clippers, which tips off Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.  

 

Shoulder injury casts doubt on Kyrie Irving playing against Celtics next week

Shoulder injury casts doubt on Kyrie Irving playing against Celtics next week

Brooklyn Nets point guard, and former Celtic, Kyrie Irving may not play against Boston next week -- shocker, right?

The 27-year-old already has been ruled out for the Nets matchup Wednesday with the Charlotte Hornets with a shoulder impingement. It'll be the third game in a row he's missed and the Nets are 1-1 without him. 

Irving has only eight days to recover from the injury before a highly-anticipated return to TD Garden on Thanksgiving Eve. If he misses the remainder of the Nets' games this week, it's more than likely he won't play in Boston -- especially considering he'll be in for a rather unfriendly reception from C's fans.

He certainly didn't leave Boston on a high note after first committing to re-sign with the Celtics, then backing off that in what became a disappointing season where his leadership was questioned and he had well-publicized differences with his younger teammates. That led to his eventual free-agent departure to Brooklyn to join his friend Kevin Durant, who is out for the season after tearing his Achilles in the NBA Finals with Golden State. It appears there are leadership questions in Brooklyn, too, after reports of his "mood swings" irritating Nets' officials. 

Nonetheless, through 11 games, Irving is averaging 28.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists. If he does end up playing against the Celtics, his reception, and how he performs against his old teammates, will be interesting to watch. 

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Clippers, which tips off Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.