Celtics

Celtics' Daniels finds rhythm a thousand shots at a time

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Celtics' Daniels finds rhythm a thousand shots at a time

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Marquis Daniels counted them down every day this summer.

998 . . . 999 . . . 1000.

Daniels set a personal goal of making a thousand three-pointers a day during the offseason. He got up shots in the morning and later again at night, recruiting his brother and former AAU coach to help with the drills.

It was a variation from his usual offseason routine, which typically consisted of post-up moves and conditioning, but one that he felt he needed to make to help the Celtics this season.

"I just know on this team, weve got great post players and great post presence," he said. "With Rajon Rondo slashing and other guys getting into the lane, I've just got to be able to knock down open shots."

So far, the plan is paying off.

Daniels has enhanced his game from being a slasher to a reliable outside shooter. He is averaging 10 points while shooting 55 percent from the field and 67 percent from three-point range in the Celtics' first three preseason games.

Daniels hit a key three-pointer to give the Celtics a win over the New Jersey Nets last week and scored 7 of his 11 points in just over a minute on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors.

"I think just quietly, Marquis has been going about his business, but he's been putting together a solid camp," said Paul Pierce. "He's doing the same things in practice and he's showing it in the games."

These types of performance are what many expected when Daniels signed with the Celtics last season. But he missed nearly 30 games because of torn ligaments in his thumb, and when he did return, his productivity didn't always follow. He finished the 2009-10 season averaging 5.6 points in just 51 regular-season games.

Daniels has repeatedly emphasized that his main goal this season is to stay healthy. He says his efficiency has more to do with rhythm than confidence, and has been more aggressive with his shooting into order to establish that consistency.

"I was teasing 'Quis earlier," recalled Nate Robinson. "I said, 'Just don't think about it. Just shoot it. If you make it, you make it. If you miss, you miss. We're not perfect. We're not going to make every shot.' Now this year he told me, 'Nate, man, whenever you guys rotate, I'm just going to shoot it. I'm not going to think about it, just play,' and he's been doing a hell of a job."

Daniels has turned heads as he enters his eighth year in the league. Rather than wonder what could have been last season, he is focused on the season at hand.

"I'd like to say this is something I could've been doing if I had stayed healthy, but that's in the past," he said. "So now I'm looking forward to the future and just continuing to get better every day."

Thousands of three-pointers later, hes on his way.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcamerato.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

0:41 - Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions on the Celtics getting their first win of the season and a comparison between Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving in the 4th quarter.

7:17 - Phil Perry joins BST to break down the tale of the tape between the Falcons and the Patriots as he breaks down the quarterbacks, offense, defense, coaching, and intangibles between the two teams.

11:57 - Our crew on BST discuss number 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz and number 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum going up against each other and debate who seems like the better pick so far. 

16:35 - In this segment of Irrelevant Questions, Tom Curran interviews Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett as he asks him a bunch of random questions. 

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Larkin rises to occasion, says he's ready when Celtics call his number

Larkin rises to occasion, says he's ready when Celtics call his number

PHILADELPHIA – Near the end of a preseason game against Charlotte, Boston Celtics guard Shane Larkin was killin’ the Hornets with pick-and-roll action.

It was a preseason game that at the time, didn’t seem to have much value other than to get some of the end-of-the-bench guys a little run up and down the court.

But as it turned out, Larkin's play in that game was one of those things head coach Brad Stevens tucked away, knowing at some point he would count on Larkin to provide similar play in a regular season game.

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Well, that game was Friday night at Philadelphia, a game in which several players for Boston stepped their games up in helping the Celtics get their first win of the season, 102-92.

But you would be hard-pressed to find a bigger game-changer for the Celtics in this game, than Larkin.

He finished with 10 points off the bench, eight of which came in the decisive fourth quarter when the Celtics rallied from five-down to get a hard-fought, much-needed victory.

“You have to always be ready for your name to be called, especially when you have injuries,” Larkin said. “You never know whose night it’s gonna be.”

Boston was playing without Marcus Smart who suffered a left ankle sprain in their 108-100 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday. Smart was in the starting lineup having replaced Gordon Hayward who underwent left ankle surgery and is expected to be out for the remainder of this season.

“When coach (Stevens) called my name, I had to go out there and be aggressive, play my game,” Larkin said. “And it worked in our favor.”

And while Stevens had watched Larkin play prior to the Celtics signing him this summer, it was a preseason game against Charlotte that really convinced him that the 5-foot-11 guard could help when called upon.

“You’re always watching,” Stevens said. “And if you remember that exhibition game, he finished out that Charlotte game, just running simple spread pick-and-rolls. He’s such a handful with his speed and quickness, and he allows other guys to play off of him. He’s a small guy, but he makes up for it with his speed and skill.”

Al Horford benefited more than any other Celtic with Larkin’s pick-and-roll play which factored into Horford scoring nine of his 17 points in the fourth.

“Shane is a player who understands the game and for us, it was me trying to set a good screen for him and having him make a play,” Horford said. “He just made the right reads, when to shoot it, when to pass it. He just looked very comfortable in that position.”

And to think that Larkin’s big game came about in part because of how well he performed in a preseason matchup against the Hornets.

“I did not know it was that specific game,” Larkin said. “But whenever I step on the court I try to do my best. That’s offensively, defensively, and do what the team needs me to do.

Larkin added, “Whenever my number is called, if he (Stevens) calls it again, I hope he does. I’ll be ready to go out there and do it again.”

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