Daniel Theis among the Celtics to put up big scoring numbers against Minnesota

Daniel Theis among the Celtics to put up big scoring numbers against Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Boston Celtics had four players score at least 20 points in their 127-117 win at Minnesota on Friday night.

Although it hasn’t happened by a Celtics team since 2015, it’s not all that surprising with this group when you consider the Celtics’ roster and the amount of above-average scorers they have.

But when you see that the quartet of big-time scorers on Friday included Daniel Theis … now that’s surprising.

It was indeed a career night for Theis who tallied his fifth double-double of the season with 25 points and 16 rebounds - both career highs.

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Theis credits his strong play to his teammates finding him when he rolled to the basket (over and over and over again) or on last-minute passes when the defense collapsed and left Theis open at the rim.

“So that’s what I kept doing,” Theis said. “Just roll. If they shoot it, go for the rebound.”

Theis’ strong game came after a lackluster start for the 6-foot-9 center.

You can count head coach Brad Stevens among those surprised at Theis having a career night considering how he began the game. 

It started off when he lost the opening tip. 

Soon after that, the man he was sorta, kinda, but not really defending early on, Naz Reid, had four points in just 53 seconds. 

As far as Theis having a career night, “The first couple of possessions I would not have predicted that,” Stevens said. “He got beat up pretty good. But he was great; he was a threat at the rim.”

Theis is also a much tougher cover for opponents that try and go small, often having the size to overpower them in the post if they are smaller while still having a nice enough touch from the perimeter to make teams pay from distance as well.

“They were pretty small in there and he did a great job of getting behind (the defense),” Stevens said. “He also protected us at the rim in critical times there.”

For Theis, fielding questions about scoring is something that he’s not accustomed to doing. 

But this night was indeed an unusual one, even for a Celtics team that on paper has several players with high-scoring potential on a night-in, night-out basis.

“It shows how good and how deep our team is,” Theis said. “We have guys who can score 20 points every night; Kemba (Walker), JT (Jayson Tatum), Jaylen (Brown), Gordon (Hayward), (Marcus) Smart … today I was in that mix, too.”

And while Theis’ points were certainly important ones for Boston, don’t look for him to all of a sudden become a shot-chucker. 

“At the end, everybody knows I don’t care about the scoring,” Theis said. “I care about the defensive part; we have to get better on defense, we gave up a lot of stuff.”

Indeed, the Celtics know the defense that they played against the Timberpups (16-38 this season) has to be better going forward, not just against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday but also against other teams down the road that will be better than Minnesota. 

But it’s good to know that on any given night, Theis can do more than just run the floor, rebound and defend. 

He can also score which only enhances the value he has to this team.

“Theis played great. He doesn’t always get a lot of attention,” said Jayson Tatum who had 28 points and 11 rebounds for his eighth double-double this season. “But he’s very vital to our team’s success night-in, night-out and capable of big games like this.”

Being an All-Star, Tatum is accustomed to the added attention defenses will pay him now. 

That attention tends to open things up for teammates such as Theis whose only 3-pointer made came on an assist from Tatum in the third quarter.

“I get a lot of buckets off of Theis setting screens,” Tatum said. “So I always make sure I say thank you.”

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Lakers, which begins Sunday at 2:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 3:30 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

How Kobe Bryant once used a cutout of Paul Pierce as 'motivation'

How Kobe Bryant once used a cutout of Paul Pierce as 'motivation'

Kobe Bryant will forever be remembered as one of the fiercest competitors in sports history. That unmatched competitiveness was amplified whenever his Los Angeles Lakers faced off against their archrival, the Boston Celtics.

Two months after the Lakers fell to the C's in the 2008 NBA Finals, Bryant headed to China to take part in the Summer Olympics. There, he helped the United States earn its first gold medal since 2000.

But the sting from his loss to the Celtics overshadowed the euphoria of his Olympics victory.

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WNBA star Sue Bird, who also was in China for the '08 Games, told a great story about witnessing Bryant's competitive attitude while drinking wine and playing card games with him that summer.

“He was fresh off [the Finals loss] and you could tell [he was still thinking it]” Bird told Los Angeles Sparks star and ESPN analyst Chiney Ogwuimike.“… [We were] just kicking it and he saw this newspaper — it was something about the Lakers series and blah blah blah — and there was a picture of Paul Pierce celebrating.

“And he didn’t say a word. He didn’t say anything. But we saw him take the paper. He started cutting out the Paul Pierce picture. He folded it up and put it in his pocket and was like, ‘Motivation.’ And we were like, ‘Oh, it never stops with him.’ And you can tell.”

Watch below:

There never will be another player like the "Black Mamba."

Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash on January 26 along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others. He was 41 years old.

You can listen to Pierce reminisce about the C's Finals win over the Lakers in the Celtics Talk Podcast below:

Here's how Celtics' Gordon Hayward is staying busy amid coronavirus outbreak

Here's how Celtics' Gordon Hayward is staying busy amid coronavirus outbreak

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is spending some much needed time with his family, but he's probably seen Disney's "Frozen" more times than he's wanted to. 

"I think I've watched 'Frozen' 35 times already," Hayward said, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe. 

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Watching Disney films isn't the only thing the 30-year-old gamer is doing -- Hayward told Lowe he's been teaching his daughters how to play Mario Kart and Pokemon. While Hayward is one of the NBA's biggest video game nerds, he, unfortunately, isn't participating in the NBA 2K Tournament that begins on Saturday.

While his daughters are enjoying watching movies and playing video games, Hayward says they're missing the TD Garden court. 

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"This was the first season they actually liked to go," Hayward said. "And not to watch me play. Just to hang out. They miss that."

Hayward probably misses it even more. He's averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from beyond the arc. In the C's final game before the NBA hit pause on the 2019-20 campaign, Hayward tallied 27 points against the Indiana Pacers with 10 rebounds. 

If the NBA season does resume at any point in the future, Hayward should be well-rested and ready to go.