Celtics’ Daniel Theis says Pascal Siakam took Kawhi’s role in Toronto

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 25: Daniel Theis #27 of the Boston Celtics reacts after a call in the second half against the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden on October 25, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

Daniel Theis of the Boston Celtics shared his thoughts about the upcoming NBA Christmas Day game against the Toronto Raptors.

Q: What childhood traditions do you carry over from Christmas?

DT: “Just get the family together, have a nice dinner with the loved ones, obviously exchanging gifts, so that’s the most important part.”

Q: Are you guys going to do anything as a team for Christmas Eve, anything planned?

DT: “We play at noon, so hopefully we’ll be at home by night. So, hopefully we’re home to spend time with our families.”

Q: Have you taught your teammates any traditions from Germany about Christmas?

DT: “No, but they know we celebrate Christmas on the 24th at night. Americans celebrate Christmas on the 25th, so this year, obviously, everybody’s doing it differently – the 25th at night. There’s nothing special from Germany. Just, like I said, everyone getting together with the family, having a nice time, exchanging gifts, maybe playing some games, just being with the family.”

Q: On the game, they’re defending champs. Does it give you any more ‘juice’ going there when you’re facing the defending champs even though they’re a little different now without Kawhi (Leonard)?

DT: “Of course, first of all it’s a Christmas game. We lost there the last two times bad every time we went there. We lost by 30, 20, every time we went there. It’s extra motivation for sure.”

Q: How different are they without Kawhi?

DT: “They’re different for sure, but Pascal Siakam is taking over a lot. He basically took Kawhi’s role. Norman Powell, he’s playing really well, scoring-wise. They kept most of the guys from last’s year’s championships team _ the core of the team. Siakam’s playing amazing basketball, especially in transition. I think they’re still up there. They almost have the same record we do. They have the core together the last couple of years. Especially, in Toronto, it’s tough to win.”

Q: How different is it going to be for you celebrating Christmas with two children now?

DT: (Laughter, smiling) “I don’t think it’s going to be to different this year because the other one is going to be like 4-weeks, 4 ½-weeks (old). A couple of years it’s going to be different probably with more gifts from us, from all the families. Everybody knows kids get so many gifts, probably keep them away for the next birthday and everything. But for me it’s just important to be with the family.”

NBA Christmas Day games are available to watch on Sky Sports Arena on Dec. 25 starting from 5pm in the UK.