Unheralded Theis Shines in Celtics Blowout Despite Kick to Face, Diss on TV


Celtics center Daniel Theis had the last laugh after ending up on the wrong end of a pair of viral moments from his team's easy win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night.

Theis was twice the butt of jokes on social media during an otherwise sleepy Game 5 that was never really in doubt for the Celtics, who enjoyed a 27-point advantage at halftime.

It started innocently enough. Late in the first quarter, Theis received a sweet no-look drop-off pass from Brad Wanamaker in the paint for what should have been an easy dunk or lay-in. Instead, he was on the receiving end of a wild heel-kick to the face by Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, who was drawn out of position and off-balance by Wanamaker's penetration.

The blow didn't appear to be intentional, and Siakam was assessed only a common foul rather than a flagrant -- but photos and videos of the play were fodder for jokes and memes on social media.

Many fans saw similarities between Siakam's roundhouse kick and the finishing move of former pro wrestler Shawn Michaels, the so-called "Sweet Chin Music."

The indignities didn't end there for Theis.

TNT analyst Shaquille O'Neal gave Theis a shoutout for his strong first half during the halftime show -- but cavalierly admitted he had forgotten Theis' name. Instead, Shaq compared Theis to one of his favorite front-court role players of yesteryear.

"This kid right here, Ernie, I don't know his name, but you know who he reminds me of? Birdman," O'Neal said, referring to former Nuggets and Heat forward Chris Andersen.

"Daniel Theis," responded fellow analyst Kenny Smith, correcting Shaq.

Shaq caught some heat from NBA fans for his apparent brain cramp and the dubious comparison.

While social media and Shaq may have had some jokes at Theis' expense, he was busy putting up one of his stronger efforts of the the postseason.

The third-year forward/center from Germany tallied 15 points on an efficient 5-of-5 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line, and chipped in eight boards and two blocks. He finished with a plus/minus of +22 in 30 minutes, third-best on the team.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images