Celtics

Celtics Talk Podcast: Was Theis the MVP of Game 5 win?

Celtics

Quick, who was the most important player for the Boston Celtics in their Game 5 win over the Toronto Raptors?

Was it Jaylen Brown, who dropped a team-high 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting? How about Kemba Walker, who added 21 points and seven assists? Or Jayson Tatum, who notched a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds?

Those are the three names that usually come up first when discussing the Celtics' success. But on the latest Celtics Talk Podcast following Game 5, Kyle Draper, A. Sherrod Blakely and Chris Forsberg showed love for Boston's unheralded hero: Daniel Theis.

Celtics Talk Podcast: C's dominate Game 5; how can they close out Raptors in Game 6? | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"He may have been the MVP in Game 5," Draper said.

That's a bold statement about a guy whose 15 points Monday tied for fourth-most on the Celtics. But Boston's constantly-underrated center also added eight rebounds a pair of blocks while playing strong defense on Raptors big men Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka.

"To me, he's the below-the-radar MVP of almost every big win they have," Blakely noted. "When you start going through the three, four or five plays that tilted the game's outcome in their favor, he's involved in some capacity in at least two or three of them.

"Tonight was no different: He made every single shot he took (5-for-5), really made Marc Gasol even less of a factor than he's already been, did a good job for the most part dealing with Ibaka on both ends of the floor.

"... I love the way that he simply does his job at a high level game in and game out. ... He was huge for these guys again."

 

Forsberg highlighted two game-altering plays in particular where Theis made his mark: one sequence where he switched onto Kyle Lowry and forced the All-Star guard into a shot clock violation and another where he swatted Norman Powell to set up a Brown slam on the other end.

Only one of those plays showed up in the box score, but both were emblematic of how the German big man holds the C's together.

"I don't think we'll ever value Theis properly, just because he's the one dude who's not a superstar in that starting lineup," Forsberg said. "But man, he's a superstar in his role. I just went into the Brad Stevens lexicon for that comparison."

Abby Chin's Game 5 notebook: Theis, Wanamaker play key roles in win

Five Celtics players scored more than Theis this season (Tatum, Walker, Brown, Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart), but as Blakely observed, there's a reason the C's kept their versatile center around this offseason.

"Danny Ainge knows just how valuable Theis is, because at the trade deadline the last couple years, Daniel Theis' name has come up, and Danny has given them the Dikembe and said, 'no,' " Blakely added.

For more reaction from Monday's Game 5, check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast on your favorite podcast app or watch it on YouTube below.