Daniels makes most of surprise appearance


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."

Just Belichick being Belichick at Friday presser

Just Belichick being Belichick at Friday presser

On Wednesday, the Patriots media room was festooned with AFC Championship Game adornments. A big red backdrop behind the podium, Patriots and Steelers helmets arranged on a table facing each other with the Lamar Hunt AFC Champion Trophy in the middle. 

Bill Belichick, who's not big on festoons, noted the helmets during his press conference and deadpanned, "So exciting...". That clip got some run. 

On Friday, when asked to recall his first Conference Championship as a coach, he mentioned the 2001 AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh and the fact that Belichick, Lawyer Milloy and Tom Brady were all required to fly to Pittsburgh on the Friday before the game to do media duties. 

"That was awesome," Belichick snarked. Then, looking to the area where the display was on Wednesday, Belichick smiled and said, "Where's all the stuff from Wednesday? Did it get thrown out?"

He is the turd in the NFL's punch bowl and it's endlessly amusing. 

Belichick not focused on Trump shout-out before inauguration: 'We've got a big game'

Belichick not focused on Trump shout-out before inauguration: 'We've got a big game'

FOXBORO -- During a dinner for donors at Union Station in Washington, D.C. on Thursday night, Donald Trump name-dropped Bill Belichick on two separate occasions. It marked what might've been the first time a president-elect publicly shouted out an NFL coach on the eve of his inauguration in the office's history.

Trump and Belichick have a long-standing friendship, Belichick explained back in November. Still, on Friday morning, the Patriots commander-in-chief had little reaction to his name being mentioned by Trump the night before. 

"We've got a big game," Belichick said matter-of-factly. 

There was little chance Belichick would utter anything else. He's still in preparation mode, still trying to out-work the Steelers in order to have his team at its best Sunday night. 

It's that approach that urged Trump to mention Belichick in the first place.

"I out-worked everybody" during the election, Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."

Trump also mentioned the four-time Super Bowl-winning head coach while in the process of pointing out Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft during the dinner. 

"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob."