Daniel Theis didn’t get the official word that he was starting until shortly before Saturday night’s tip-off.
It didn’t matter.
Theis’ mindset all season has been one in which he prepares to play big minutes, knowing that if the team’s at full strength that’s unlikely to happen.
But on those occasions when his number is called, Theis has vowed to be ready.
And the man kept his word, delivering the best scoring night of his career in what turned into a historic 133-77 win over the Bulls as the Celtics (15-10) set an NBA record for the largest margin of victory in a road game in addition to setting a franchise record for the largest margin of victory.
Playing time means something to all players, but for Theis … it’s different.
After having finally found his stride last season, he went down with a season-ending torn meniscus injury.
And earlier this year, he once again found himself on the bench recovering from an injury.
“I’m just happy to be on the court again,” Theis told NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin following the game. “After the Detroit game and I got hurt, out for another two weeks … I just hated sitting on the sideline and not helping my team on the court; just happy to help.”
When healthy, Theis has proven himself to be more than just a solid contributor but a player who has difference-making potential when given an opportunity to play.
Filling in for Al Horford (knee soreness), Theis tallied a double-double that included a career-high 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Theis became the latest member of the ‘Next Man Up’ as the Celtics continue to not miss a beat when a key player is unavailable.
“These guys are always like that,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the game. “One of the things we’ve been good with is guys … they’re ready. He’s been great when he’s healthy. It was good to see him kind of get back in the rhythm of things.”
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