Daniel Theis’ defense key in Celtics comeback victory over Sixers

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Daniel Theis’ defense key in Celtics comeback victory over Sixers

Post by bobheckler on Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:30 pm

http://celticswire.usatoday.com/2018/01/11/daniel-theis-defense-boston-celtics-comeback-victory-philadelphia-76ers/




Daniel Theis’ defense key in Celtics comeback victory over Sixers




By: Greg Cassoli | 23 hours ago





Boston Celtics big man Daniel Theis maintained his composure and improved his play against Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid.

Daniel Theis looked overmatched in his first possession defending Joel Embiid, during the Celtics’ Thursday matchup with the Sixers in London.

Philadelphia’s mammoth center put Boston’s big deep beneath the basket, dropped his shoulder into Theis’ chest, and finished through him for an and-one layup.


https://ssl.cdn.turner.com/nba/big/nba/wsc/2018/01/11/4600fa62-cf41-e97b-3500-2b5fc3857fce.nba_1835662_1920x1080_5904.mp4?_=1


That one play was enough to move Brad Stevens to take out Theis in favor of Aron Baynes, a player with considerably greater heft and the only option Boston has on its roster with anything approaching equivalent size, as compared to Embiid.


It seemed at the time that Theis was likely to be tied to the bench whenever Embiid was on the court, but he was given another chance in the second half. He took full advantage of it.

Theis upped his physicality, and leveraged the slight quickness and leaping advantage that result from his comparative lightness. His efforts took the form of stout, upright contests, disrupted passes, and one particularly impressive block.

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Embiid finished the night with 15 points, but shot only 6 of 17 from the field, thanks in large part to Theis. Aron Baynes, Al Horford, and Boston’s help defenders played a substantial role as well.

“I give credit to our guys, you know Al [Horford], [Aron] Baynes, [Daniel] Theis. They come out, and they execute the gameplan,” Jaylen Brown said, when asked about the secret to the Celtics’ success in defending Embiid.

“Just try to make him uncomfortable. Like it’s hard to guard him by yourself, you know, so just using our team defense. Our mindset is just to be there, be long, and make it hard for him. Make him get tough looks.”

Boston certainly succeeded in that regard, and it was Theis who defended Embiid for a substantial portion of the Celtics big second-half run. His effectiveness was all the more striking in the wake of his early struggle, by which Theis ultimately seemed unfazed.

That unflappability is nothing new to Stevens.

“He has been terrific,” he said of Theis after the game. “He’s come in he’s played a role whether he plays a lot, plays a little. If I take him out after one minute because Embiid checks back in the game, and we put him in at another time. He never changes. That’s a real good quality. To know exactly what you’re getting when a person goes in the game, I would say is very unique, and with Daniel you do.”

Theis has contributed consistently enough that quality defensive play has become an expectation. Tonight was no different, even against one of the game’s most physically imposing players.



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