|Meet Marquis Daniels: Hockey Player||11.24.09 at 4:08 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Marquis Daniels knows the tough reputation of hockey players. They are the types who get 20 stitches after taking a puck to the face and miss one shift and are back on the ice.
So, when he was spotted again on Tuesday with heavy tape around his left [non-shooting] wrist, he made an appropriate cross-sport reference.
“It’s okay,” Daniels said with a smile. “I’m hockey player. I’m alright.”
Somewhere, Cam Neely is smiling. Or in Daniels’ case, Mario Lemieux. He knows who No. 66 was and what he did for hockey.
But ask him how he injured the wrist and Daniels struggles to remember.
“I don’t even know,” Daniels said after Tuesday’s practice. “I just realized it after the Indiana game. I was like something doesn’t feel right. You’re going to get it hit out here. That’s why I keep tape on it, to keep it protected. I can’t skate. I’m not going to try. I’m from Florida, I don’t even like ice.”
“I actually don’t know the answer,” his coach Doc Rivers added. “He hurt it, I think, all the way back in preseason if I’m not mistaken. He does bandage it more in practice than in the games. But lately, he’s going to that more in the games. I don’t think it’s anything where he needs surgery or anything like that. But it must be bothering him some or he wouldn’t be wearing it.”
Daniels said he’s not worried that the wrist could limit his offensive punch.
“I shoot layups anyway so I’m okay,” he said, all the while smiling. “It’s nothing. I’m okay. I can play, I can run. I still have my legs. I can move. I’m alright.”
|Celts Beat Cavs||10.21.09 at 9:49 pm ET|
The first rule of preseason games in any sport is don’t read too much into preseason games. It is very unlikely, for example, that there will ever be a time in the regular season when J.R. Giddens is matched up one-on-one with LeBron James at the top of the key with no help coming.
That said, the Celtics final preseason game against the Cavaliers Wednesday night revealed one very valuable truth, which is that when it comes to Cleveland, the Celtics aren’t messing around. They sat Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Glen Davis and had Paul Pierce play just 13 minutes and yet they were still the aggressors from the opening tip in a 96-82 win at THE Ohio State University. (Click here for a recap).
Sure, there were some strange sights like Giddens covering LeBron and Lester Hudson stripping the ball from Shaquille O’Neal down on the block but you have to admire the intentisty with which the Celtics went after the Cavs on the road in the final exhibition game. There was even a fun little skirmish toward the end of the first half when Shelden Williams exchanged shoves with Daniel Gibson Mo Williams. (Note to the Celtics bench: Stay off the court during fights.)
The games between the Cavs and Celtics this season promise to be Events with klieg lights surrounding the building and national TV and media inside. To carry that kind of intensity and attention to detail into the final preseason game is a nice way to wrap it up.
But, let’s not read too much into it.
Other items of note for the Celtics:
The Marquis Daniels lovefest can not be stopped: The free agent swingman might be just a little sad to see the preseason end. You can make the argument that he was the Celtics most consistent player during the preseason and he capped it off with a phenomenal 17-point, five-assist performance in 30 minutes.
Daniels has been everything the Celtics could have hoped for (and he can rap too).
Lester Hudson continues to make a case: Let’s say this before going too far: It will be very difficult for Hudson to get playing time once the season starts. But if he continues to make the most of his chances he has a chance to carve out a niche on this team. Hudson scored eight points in 21 minutes, but most importantly he continued to play without fear or hesitancy.
The players and coaching staff like the 25-year-old rookie from Tennessee-Martin and he has allowed them to feel a little bit more secure about the lack of a “true” backup point guard.
Everyone will be very happy on Tuesday when the regular refs are back: The officials everyone know, and some hate, will undoubtedly make mistakes. They will undoubtedly make a call or two that will leave people scratching their heads or cursing a blue streak at their HD. But, there won’t be many calls that will be influenced by people yelling from the bench and there won’t be too many calls where everyone with a whistle looks at each other and tries to figure out what just happened.
Both those things happened last night and far too often during the preseason. Love them, hate them or tolerate them because they’re generally the best the game has to offer the NBA needs to have the best possible officials on the court and that is the best outcome of all of this preseason.
|Celts Make it Five Straight||10.18.09 at 6:09 pm ET|
Marquis Daniels can do a lot of things on the basketball court. That’s a big reason why the former undrafed free agent has had a long and productive career as a role player.
Coming into the Celtics preseason game with the Raptors Sunday in Toronto, Doc Rivers figured to see just how many things Daniels could do on the court. He has already proven himself as a capable ball handler and backup swing man, but Rivers wanted to see him running the point and playing small forward for extended stretches of game action in the Celtics 101-82 victory over Toronto. (Click here for a recap).
Daniels was in the 3-spot for about six minutes of the second quarter when he ran with Rajon Rondo and Eddie House in the backcourt and Glen Davis and Rasheed Wallace up front. The lineup had some rough spots offensively, but they were active and pesky on defense and Rivers may have found yet another combination to play with once the regular season starts.
There was talk of other more exotic lineup combinations, but few materialized Sunday. Instead Ray Allen and Rondo played 30+ minutes and Kevin Garnett checked in with a 21-point, 28-minute afternoon. The starters were in rhythm offensively in the first half, shooting 78 percent in the first quarter as Garnett and Allen combined to go 10-for-12 for 23 points.
The second half was more ragged, but all in all, it was another productive preseason outing for the Celts who have won five straight.
A few other observations:
Allen finds his stroke: As the Celtics check items off their preseason to-do list, they can add another notch after Allen finally had a hot shooting night. Coming into the game, Allen was shooting just 36 percent in his four outings. But after going 6-for-6 in the first half and finishing with an efficient 20-points, the veteran shooter is back on track.
Not that anyone should have been worrying about Allen. He is coming off one of the best shooting seasons of his career and he came into camp in terrific shape. But Allen is in the final year of his contract and his season will be watched carefully for any signs of slippage. As a general rule, when shooting guards in their 30′s lose it, they tend to lose it quickly.
Allen has been able to defy the ravages of time and has the game to continue being a successful shooter for a few more years. Whether that will translate into another big contract remains to be seen.
Inside the matchups: The Celtics don’t figure to get a lot of competition from the Atlantic Division this year. The Knicks and Nets are in various stages of their rebuilding programs and while the Sixers and Raptors should find themselves in playoff contention, neither is likely to make a serious move in the east.
Still, the games against Toronto are some of the more intriguing ones for the Celtics because there are three great individual matchups — Rondo vs. Jose Calderon, Paul Pierce vs. Hedo Turkoglu and Kendrick Perkins vs. Chris Bosh.
Rondo and Calderon are two of the top point guards in the conference, while Pierce and Turkoglu love to mix it up with each other. The two are among the craftiest practitioners of their art in the league and Pierce has tremendous respect for Turkoglu.
Perkins, meanwhile, is on the cusp of earning serious defensive cred around the league, especially after he battled Dwight Howard with one arm in last season’s playoffs. Bosh is one of his toughest covers because the Raptors big man can go inside and out and because he has several inches on Perkins.
Give Bosh the edge Sunday. He had Perkins in foul trouble for most of the afternoon and finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, but expect to see some great battles during the regular season.
NOTES: As expected, Tony Allen (ankle) and Bill Walker (knee surgery) didn’t play. Former Celtic Patrick O’Bryant had two points, four rebounds and five fouls in 12 uninspired minutes. The teams combined for 43 turnovers and 54 fouls.
The Celtics have two more preseason games — at New York Tuesday and at Cleveland Wednesday. Don’t expect to see much against the Cavs.
|‘Rare’ lineup for Celtics on Sunday||10.17.09 at 4:25 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Celtics coach Doc Rivers said following Saturday’s practice that he intends to use a ‘rare’ lineup on Sunday in Toronto against the Raptors in the team’s sixth preseason game.
Rivers will start Paul Pierce, along with Ray Allen and Marquis Daniels, with Daniels the most-likely choice to start at the point. Daniels, who has played big guard as well as small forward, has been getting time in practice as the point behind Rajon Rondo.
“We’re just going to do that [Sunday] to see what the other team does defensively,” Rivers said Saturday.
Daniels, along with Eddie House and rookie Lester Hudson figure to get a long look as Rivers considers back-up options behind Rondo off the bench.
|Perkins and Daniels to Kick Off Celtics Stay in School Program||10.14.09 at 9:41 pm ET|
On Friday the Celtics will kick off the 19th season of their Stay in School program. Kendrick Perkins and Marquis Daniels will host an assembly of honor students at the Mildred Avenue Middle School in Mattapan and encourage all students to take pride in their academic work.
The Celtics will visit Boston public middle schools throughout the season to motivate students and emphasize the importance of staying in school. Top students will be honored for academic success and perfect attendance at the end of each year. The Stay in School program, presented by Arbella Insurance, is a collaboration of efforts from the Celtics, New England Sports Museum, Northeastern University Center for the Study of Sport in Society, and Boston Public Schools.
|Football a Touchdown for Celtics Chemistry||10.12.09 at 12:26 am ET|
With seconds left in regulation between Wallace’s favorite team, the Kansas City Chiefs, and Perkins’ hometown club, the Chiefs scored a touchdown to force overtime. It was enough to send Perkins back into the trainer’s room while Wallace gloated in the last-second comeback.
On Sunday afternoon the Celtics locker room became an NFL fan zone following their game against the Nets (recap).
“Everybody has their own teams and they’re rooting for their hometown,” said Michael Sweetney while he watched the game from his locker. “Especially with ‘Sheed with Kansas City, Perk with Dallas, Paul [Pierce] likes the Patriots, and I’m from D.C. so I’ve got the [Washington] Redskins, we all just get around and talk trash. It brings us together. We have a good time.”
For the Celtics, following football is another experience to strengthen their team chemistry. Many of the players, including Glen Davis and Marquis Daniels, played in high school. Their passion for the sport now brings them together in the pros.
“We’re all football fans,” said Davis, a New Orleans Saints follower. “Football’s an American sport. Every guy likes football, we like to talk about football, and everybody talks about athletes.”
According to Daniels, this game is a common thread among many NBA players. The Orlando native, who is a fan of any Florida football team, recalls friendly rivalries among teammates when he played for the Mavericks and Pacers. In many cases a lost prediction would result in having to wear the opposition’s jersey.
Sweetney, however, has never played for a team where Sundays are so significant.
“This is my first team being around something like this, just the camaraderie, everything,” he said. “It’s just something special right now. Like I told you before — and I’m not bad mouthing other teams – the two teams I’ve been on [Bulls and Knicks], we’ve never done this. Guys enjoy each other, not just on the floor.”
In that moment, Wallace enjoyed himself as he continued his celebration. Even though his initial outburst was directed at Perkins, Sweetney was not exempt from the cheers. As Sweetney explained, Wallace is a “true diehard fan” who would stick by the Chiefs even if they only won one game this season.
“Yeah, Sweet, say something now, Sweet!” Wallace jokingly yelled out.
“I was talking trash to him all week,” Sweetney admitted, “and we lost today.”
|Former Magic Notice Changes in Celtics||10.11.09 at 5:01 pm ET|
The last time Rafer Alston, Tony Battie, and Courtney Lee played against the Celtics, they sent the C’s packing for the summer. The trio were members of the Magic team that eliminated the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. This year they are in a different uniform and noticed the Cs have a different look as well.
Alston, Battie and Lee were traded from the Magic to the Nets over the summer as part of the Vince Carter deal. On Sunday they got their first take at the Celtics with their new team during preseason action at the TD Garden (recap here).
“They got a brand new season,” Battie said. “I mean, you look and [Kevin Garnett] is back and Rasheed [Wallace] is part of it. They got a great steal in getting Marquis Daniels, and you have those three additions coming back in the team. So, I think they’re the team to beat, definitely.”
Last season a hobbled Celtics squad was outscored, outrebounded and burned from the 3-point line by the Magic. Without Garnett on the court and veterans Ray Allen and Paul Pierce overworked, the Celtics bench could not save the season. Now the additions of Wallace and Daniels give the team much-needed depth.
“They get their big guy back and then they add Rasheed Wallace in there now,” Alston said. “I think when you’re trying to take away a lot of their main guys, they have a lot of guys that can step up and stretch the defense or post up on the low block. They have a different dynamic to their team, especially from a defensive aspect for other teams.”
Both Alston and Lee agree the series would have been completely different if the Celtics had so many weapons last season.
“They would’ve been a better team,” Lee said. “They definitely would’ve been harder for a matchup because you can play Marquis at the 1 and you sub in Rasheed, so they keep a shooting big in at all times, so they definitely would have been better.”
Said Alston: “I don’t think we would have been able to roam a lot off of a lot of their guys — [Rajon] Rondo, [Kendrick] Perkins, Big Baby [Glen Davis]. Those guys who really bring more scoring to the offense, especially from the bench standpoint.”
The combination of a healthy Garnett and a revamped second unit has Alston noticing a difference in the 2009-10 Celtics. Although he isn’t as willing as Battie to name them the best in the Eastern Conference, he can’t deny the changes on the court.
“Whenever they have all their guys, they have a swagger,” he said. “When someone goes down they don’t have swagger no more. That’s just how they are.”