Daniels makes most of surprise appearance

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Daniels makes most of surprise appearance

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."

Khudobin simply ‘has got to be better’ for Bruins

Khudobin simply ‘has got to be better’ for Bruins

BOSTON – There wasn’t much for Anton Khudobin to say after it was all over on Thursday night. 

The B’s backup netminder allowed four goals on 22 shots while looking like he was fighting the puck all night. It was one of the big reasons behind a tired-looking 4-2 loss to the lowly Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

The loss dropped Khudobin to 1-4-0 on the season and puts him at a 3.02 goals-against average and .888 save percentage this season. Three of the four goals beat Khudobin despite him getting a pretty good look at them. The ultimate game-winner in the second period from John Mitchell just beat him cleanly on the short side. 

Matt Duchene beat Khudobin from the slot on a play that was a bad defense/bad goaltending combo platter to start the game and MacKinnon ripped a shorthanded bid past the Bruins netminder to put Boston in a hole against a woeful Colorado team. 

Afterward, Khudobin didn’t have much to say, with just one good performance among five games played for the Black and Gold this season. 

“Four goals is too much. That’s it,” said a to-the-point Khudobin, who was then asked how he felt headed into the game. “I don’t know; too much energy…yeah, too much. I don’t know. I just had a lot of energy and I think it just didn’t work out my way.”

Khudobin didn’t really expand on why he had too much energy, but perhaps it’s because the compacted schedule has really curtailed the team’s ability to hold team practices on a regular basis. Or maybe he was just disappointed it took him a week to get back between the pipes after playing his best game of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Either way Claude Julien said that the Bruins needed better goaltending on a night where they weren’t at their sharpest physically or mentally, and Khudobin clearly wasn’t up to the challenge this time around. 

“We needed some saves tonight and we didn’t get them. He’s got to be better. A lot of things here that we can be better at and take responsibility [for],” said Julien. “But at the same time, you got to move on here. To me it’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, and we would have had a chance. Now we’ve got to move forward.”

Clearly, the Bruins have no choice but to move on with a busy schedule that doesn’t let up anytime soon, but one of the lessons learned from Thursday night is that the Bruins need to get better backup goaltending from a collective crew (Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban included) that’s won just once in eight games behind Tuukka Rask this season. 

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

FOXBORO - The Patriots got a desired outcome Thursday night when the Chiefs handed the Raiders their third loss of the season. 

The 21-13 loss dropped Oakland and KC into a tie atop the AFC West at 10-3 but the Chiefs, by virtue of beating Oakland twice this season, have the divisional tiebreaker. Oakland went from the top seed in the AFC to the fifth spot.

More importantly around here, the Patriots now are in position to win out and claim the AFC’s No. 1 seed. 

Prior to the Raiders loss, Oakland would have been the top seed if both they and the Patriots won out.  Now, the 10-2 Patriots have a leg up on the rest of the conference. The Raiders’ road stays tough. They are at San Diego and Denver and host the Colts. 

The Chiefs have a more favorable close to the season with home games against Tennessee and Denver before their season finale at San Diego. 

The Patriots’ road over the final four is no picnic though, beginning with the Ravens and at Denver before the last two hosting the Jets and traveling to Miami.