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 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."