Celtics

Daniels finding his groove just in time for postseason

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Daniels finding his groove just in time for postseason

BOSTON Boston Celtics swingman Marquis Daniels has re-discovered his all-around game and his timing could not be better.

With the NBA players to begin this weekend, the Celtics backup is playing some of his best basketball at a time when he may be called upon in the games that matter most.

"We need it," C's coach Doc Rivers said of Daniels' strong play of late.

His contributions were among the keys to Boston's 78-66 win over the Miami Heat.

Daniels had the kind of all-around performance that the C's haven't seen nearly as much of as they would have liked this season.

He scored.

He rebounded.

He found teammates.

He picked pockets.

By the end of the night, Daniels had the kind of stat line that speaks clearly as to how, on any given night, he can help the C's in so many different areas.

He led all reserves with 13 points, in addition to tallying five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot.

When Daniels was playing regular minutes, he was often one of the last players to leave the practice floor or the morning shoot-around.

After his role diminished to the point where he wasn't playing at all, Daniels continued to work on his game, knowing that an opportunity to play might come about at any moment.

"Just trying to make sure I'm ready whenever my number is called," said Daniels, who had a strong game off the bench in the C's loss at Atlanta on Friday. "Staying after late, getting a workout in, coming in early, getting a workout in. Just taking advantage of the time that I get."

And while Daniels likely won't be in the Celtics regular playing rotation when the playoffs start, that doesn't mean the C's expect him to be a non-factor.

"You know it every year: someone who plays a little bit comes in in the playoffs and has a big game for you," Rivers said.

And Daniels certainly has to be included among the possibilities coming off the Celtics bench.

"Everybody in this room is talented," Daniels said recently. "One thing we can do, is go out and use our talent and play hard. All we have to do is play hard, and we'll be in every game."

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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