Marquis Daniels saves the day
|06.02.12 at 2:23 am ET|
Doc Rivers told Marquis Daniels to be ready. Then he didn’t play. Rivers didn’t tell Daniels anything before Game 3, but there he was checking into the game in the first quarter after Brandon Bass got into foul trouble.
“Hopefully,” Daniels said. “He doesn’t say anything to me next game.”
Daniels scored nine points and had five rebounds in the Celtics’ 101-91 victory. That was the “gravy” as Rivers called it. What he really needed from Daniels, and from Keyon Dooling and from whoever else he throws out there from his patchwork bench, is defense and that’s one thing Daniels has always been able to provide.
Rivers went with a small lineup against Miami, mainly because he has no choice. Without Chris Bosh, the Heat are getting extended minutes from Shane Battier and Mike Miller and the Celtics are scrambling to matchup. Fortunately, Rivers has bodies to throw at the problem and this time he used them.
Daniels was plus-14 in his 19 minutes and Dooling was plus-10. Together, they brought the defense. Dooling, with his manic, wired intensity and Daniels with his cerebral, give no quarter approach.
“I thought what the second unit did was they came in with a defensive energy that changed the game,” Rivers said. “And they scored off the defense. They got stops, they ran the floor, Marquis cut and got to the basket. Marquis made great passes, and then we posted him up a couple of times as well. But I thought it was more from that. And that’s who they are. Listen, they are not going to put up great numbers offensively, but they know exactly who they are. They accept that, and they are comfortable with that.”
In his second go-round with the Celtics, Daniels has been even more enigmatic than his first tour. He seemingly lost the ability to finish inside and with that went his playing time. That’s what separates this Celtics’ team from some of the others. Rotations have changed, playing time has fluctuated, but there have been no gripes and no complaints. Everyone just stays ready.
“Guys on the bench, they are registered professionals,” Paul Pierce said. “Marquis hasn’t really played a lot for us in this series, but when his name was called upon he was ready. That’s what being a professional is all about. Everyday he comes in, gets his work in.”
Daniels made one other huge contribution in the playoffs. In Game 2 against the Hawks, he helped shutdown Joe Johnson in a must-win performance. The stakes and the magnitude of the competition were even greater this time, but Daniels was ready.
“I continue to go back to Marquis because he’s a guy who hasn’t played much throughout these playoffs,” Dooling said. “I spend a lot of time with him off the court and there are a lot of frustrating nights for him. But through all the frustration he is able to keep a level of professionalism that is second to none. Imagine not playing much throughout these whole playoffs and having the cardio to play against some of the best athletes we have in our league- and be able to excel. I tip my hat to him.”