Marquis Daniels 'definitely' able to play next season

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Marquis Daniels 'definitely' able to play next season

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @sherrodbcsn
The last time Boston Celtics fans saw Marquis Daniels on a basketball floor, the versatile wingman had to be carried out of the TD Garden on a stretcher after suffering a bruised spinal cord.

Daniels' fans, as well as the Celtics, didn't know if he would ever play again.

He isn't totally back to full strength, but he's now at a point where his agent, Mark Bartelstein, tells CSNNE.com that Daniels will "definitely" be able to play next season.

And it's not totally out of the question that the 6-foot-6 forward could return to Boston, either.

"When the time comes, he's going to look at and explore all his options," Bartelstein said. "But Boston is certainly a team he knows well, has a great amount of respect for and really enjoyed his time there."

Bartlestein said Daniels will have another check-up in a couple weeks.

"He can do some light work now, but after that, he should be able to go all-out," Bartelstein said.

While Daniels' versatility is coveted, his track record with injuries raises a number of concerns.

During the 2009-2010 season -- his first season with the Celtics -- he missed 31 games with an assortment of injuries with the most serious being a wrist injury that required surgery. He eventually returned, only to suffer a neck injury in the playoffs. This past season, Daniels' spinal cord injury ended his season after just 49 games. It marked the third straight season that Daniels missed significant time due to injury (he appeared in 54 games during the 2008-2009 season in Indiana).

Even though Daniels' play was inconsistent at times last season, it was clear that he was more comfortable and played with greater confidence having had a year under his belt in the Celtics' system.

"I was just trying to fit in (during the first year with the Celtics)," Daniels said prior to suffering a bruised spinal cord injury against Orlando on Feb. 6. "They look for me now; just knowing your role and accepting it."

Daniels did just that, with the Celtics posting a 37-12 record with him in the lineup last season.

Even with a clean bill of health, it is unclear if the Celtics will pursue Daniels when the free agency period begins.

It usually begins July 1, but with the Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire June 30, it's unclear when teams can begin negotiating with free agents.

If Boston elects to bring Daniels back for a third stint, they will likely do it in addition to adding another player who can play the wing position. That could give the Celtics a similar 1-2 punch off the bench at the wing position, similar to what they had two years ago with Daniels and Tony Allen (now with the Memphis Grizzlies).

Another factor that can't be ignored when talking about a potential return by Daniels, is head coach Doc Rivers.

Despite his ups and downs with the Celtics, Rivers maintained a high level of confidence in Daniels.

"I just know what he has," Rivers said of Daniels this past season. "You know the old saying with coaches: 'You don't coach a player to what he is today. You coach him to what you think he should be someday.' I just think he can do that a lot, and I think he wants to do that."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Shots don't fall for Celtics in frustrating 114-98 loss to Hawks

Shots don't fall for Celtics in frustrating 114-98 loss to Hawks

BOSTON – You hear coaches and players often refer to the NBA as a make-miss league.

When summing up what happened in Boston’s 114-98 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, sadly it was that simple.

Dennis Schroder led the six double-figure scorers for the Hawks with 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting.

Boston got many of the shots that they have been getting throughout this run in which they came into Monday’s game having won 11 of their previous 14 games.

The Celtics (38-22) have now lost three of their last four games. Life won’t get any easier for them with defending NBA champion Cleveland coming into town on Wednesday.

We have seen the Celtics make some miraculous comebacks under fourth-year coach Brad Stevens, but Celtics fans understandably began hitting the exits with more than three minutes to play and Boston looking up at a 108-84 deficit.

Credit the Hawks defense which played with a greater sense of urgency, the kind you would expect from a team that had come in riding a three-game losing streak.

Meanwhile, Boston looked like the team that we have seen most of this season which relies heavily on their perimeter shooting to win games.

That’s not all that surprising against the Hawks whose interior defense is anchored by Dwight Howard.

Howard, who had 17 points and 12 rebounds, also had a pair of blocked shots and altered many others.

But the Celtics spent a good chunk of the second half with Howard out of the game.

Howard, an absolute unstoppable force for the Hawks all game, picked up his second technical foul (an automatic ejection) for hanging on the rim following a put-back dunk with 4:03 to play in the third and Atlanta ahead 74-65.

He had picked up his first technical foul for shoving Al Horford earlier in the game.

But with Howard out, the Celtics still couldn’t take advantage of an Atlanta team that was much more vulnerable to dribble-drive penetration.

In fact, Atlanta began to pull away and took their biggest lead up to that point of the game, 84-69, following a 3-pointer by Tim Hardaway Jr. late in the third quarter which ended with the Hawks ahead 84-71.

And Boston’s struggles stemmed from their inability to make open shots.

For the game, the Celtics shot 39.1 percent from field which is a somewhat inflated figure considering the mini-run Boston's backups went on in the final minute or two of play.

Not even the usual high-scoring exploits of Isaiah Thomas could save the day.

The NBA’s leading scorer in the fourth quarter, Thomas had another sub-par night in the game’s final quarter of play.

He led the Celtics with 19 points, but only two came in the fourth quarter. And by failing to reach 20 points, Thomas’ franchise-record of consecutive games with 20 or more comes to an end at 43 straight.  

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Hawks hold decisive edge on the boards

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Hawks hold decisive edge on the boards

BOSTON – The return of Avery Bradley was a good thing for the Boston Celtics, but it wasn’t enough for them to control the action in the first half of Monday’s game against the Hawks who took a 51-47 lead into the half.

Bradley, who had missed previous 18 games and 22 of 23, had six points in the first half on 2-for-4 shooting.

The Celtics opened the game with a 7-2 spurt and led by as many as eight points (15-7) in the first before the Hawks begin to cut into Boston’s lead and eventually take their first lead of the night following a 3-point play by Paul Millsap with 4:20 to play in the quarter which put them ahead 18-15 as part of an 11-0 run.

Boston would regain the lead before both teams went into the second quarter tied at 24.

The second quarter saw Boston hit one of those scoring lulls that they go through from time to time.

But unlike last night’s win at Detroit when they went nearly four minutes without scoring, Atlanta’s offense did a much better job of taking advantage of Boston’s struggles.

Atlanta went on a 9-2 spurt in the second quarter capped off by a Kent Bazemore lay-up that put the Hawks ahead 35-31.

Boston rallied soon after with Bradley leading the charge.

Bradley drained a 3-pointer that cut Atlanta’s lead to 35-34.

A defensive stop by Boston led the way for an Isaiah Thomas lay-up that put the Celtics back on top, leading to the Hawks calling a time-out with 6:18to play in the half.

Atlanta tightened up defensively, doing just enough to go into the half with a four-point lead.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of tonight’s game between the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks.

 

STARS

Dennis Schroder

He really came out and set the tone for the Hawks, scoring eight of his 10 first-half points in the first quarter.

Isaiah Thomas

Atlanta did a nice job of blitzing Thomas and forcing him to pass the ball. But Thomas is a professional scorer so you knew it was a matter of time before he got going offensively. He led the Celtics with nine points at the half, in addition to dishing out five assists while also grabbing five rebounds.

Dwight Howard

The Celtics simply could not keep him from dominating play around the rim. He led all scorers at the half with 12 points while grabbing eight rebounds.

 

STUDS

Marcus Smart

When the offense seemed to stall, it was Smart who kept the Celtics within striking distance in the second quarter. He had seven points at the half along with three rebounds and an assist.

Paul Millsap

He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well (he missed six of his seven shots), but his presence was felt. He had five points at the half along with nine rebounds.

 

DUDS

Celtics rebounding

It really is an adventure when it comes to the Boston Celtics and rebounding the ball. Tonight, they have not been very good, with the Hawks holding a decisive 32-21 rebounding edge which has allowed them to hold a 28-14 advantage in points in the paint, an 8-2 edge on second-chance points in addition to leading the fast break points game, 7-4.