Daniel Theis sends clear message in response to Bruce Brown's call-out


Despite Kevin Durant's best efforts at damage control, the Boston Celtics heard Bruce Brown loud and clear.

After the Nets' win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Tuesday's NBA play-in tournament matchup, Brown took a swipe at Celtics big men Al Horford and Daniel Theis while explaining Brooklyn's keys to defeating Boston in their first-round NBA playoff matchup.

"Now they don't have Robert Williams, so they have less of a presence in the paint, and we could attack Al Horford and Theis," Brown told reporters. "So them not having Robert Williams is huge."

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The Celtics were made aware of Brown's comments, and on Thursday, Theis got his chance to respond to the Nets guard.

"He said what he said," Theis said of Brown. "So for us it's more -- we show it on the court. If he thinks the way he thinks, we’re gonna prove him wrong."

Theis' response is exactly what Durant was hoping to avoid when he chided Brown for giving the Celtics' big men some bulletin board material.

Brown isn't necessarily off-base -- the Nets should attack the paint and very well could have success against Boston's bigs with Williams sidelined due to a torn meniscus. But now Brooklyn might get extra-motivated versions of Horford and Theis (and maybe Grant Williams, whom Brown failed to even mention).

While none of those three players can impact the game like Robert Williams, they've been solid since Time Lord went down in late March. Theis in particular has risen to the challenge, averaging 13.1 points and 5.9 rebounds in the seven games since Robert Williams' absence.

The key for Boston's bigs will be on defense and on the boards, where they'll need to prevent Andre Drummond and Nic Claxton from generating second-chance opportunities for an already-dangerous Nets offense. Theis seems up for the challenge, though -- and reinforcements could arrive as soon as Game 5 with the potential return of Robert Williams.

Game 1 tips off Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET at TD Garden.

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