DENVER When you've been coaching as long as Doc Rivers has, sometimes you put guys on the floor for no reason other than a hunch.
That's the only explanation for Rivers' decision to play Marquis Daniels meaningful minutes in Boston's 98-91 loss at Denver.
Daniels responded to the unexpected assignment with eight points on 3-for-5 shooting, along with two rebounds and an assist in just under 20 minutes.
To put Daniels' night in perspective, the eight points scored on Saturday were just two points less than he scored in the entire month of March.
"Whenever my number's called, I just want to make sure I'm ready," Daniels said. "So I can go out there and perform at a high level."
Daniels, who came into the NBA as an undrafted player out of Auburn, has been in every role imaginable in the NBA.
That experience helps him prepare for situations like Saturday, when Rivers tapped him to play.
After the game, Rivers talked about Paul Pierce's foul trouble (Pierce eventually fouled out for the first time this season) as being a factor in his decision to go with Daniels.
But in recent games Rivers had gone with Sasha Pavlovic, who did not play (coaches decision) against the Nuggets.
"Every once in a while you have a gut feeling and Daniels played great for us," Rivers said.
Some players would pout -- or worse, demand to be traded -- if their role gets reduced the way Daniels' has this season.
But if you've been around Daniels, you quickly understand that's not how he operates.
Losing minutes is a drop in the bucket of life for this guy.
Being able to simply put on an NBA uniform, is a reward that Daniels cherishes.
Daniels suffered a potentially career-ending neck injury last season with the C's. After surgery and months of rehabilitation, he was able to return to the floor this year.
"It's going to take a lot for me to be like, 'Man, just forget it,' " Daniels said. "I was paralyzed at one point last season. So I'm just happy, and blessed. I thank God that I'm able to walk, let alone be able to play."