Rivers turns to Daniels in critical moment

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Rivers turns to Daniels in critical moment

BOSTON With 9.3 seconds left and a mere two-point lead, Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers turned to an unlikely option.

Marquis Daniels had played in just two of the first five games of the series against the Atlanta Hawks and had yet to step on the court in Game 6. Yet he would be assigned the responsibility of stopping center Al Horford, who scored eight points in three minutes, from sending the deciding match to overtime.

Well, we wanted to go small with one big, Doc Rivers explained following the Celtics 8380 win. And the mistake we made, and we were trying to screen Marquis shouldve been guarding the ball, out of bounds, and Kevin (Garnett) shouldve been on Horford. They got mixed up, and we got lucky.

Horford drove the basket, looking to tie the game up at 81. Daniels watched the big man with mere seconds to decide his next move. The thought of going for a steal crossed his mind but there was a chance Horford would still score. Instead, Daniels dealt a hard foul that put Horford on the line with 2.3 seconds to go.

I just made sure he didnt get it off, said Daniels. I saw the ball in his hands and I thought, should I go for the steal? I was like, no, I didnt want to be the person who got scored on in the end. I just wanted to make sure I gave it a good hard foul, just make sure he earned it.

Its playoffs. I was in a bad spot. I just had to make sure he didnt get an and-one when he got the shot off. I just had to get a good, hard foul.

Horford entered the game shooting 75 percent from the free throw line. He needed to go two-for-two to send the game into overtime.

He missed the first attempt.

I just put it on me, said Horford. It felt good and I thought it was good. It just didnt go down so I just had to make sure I made the second one.

Horford connected on the second free throw, but by then the Hawks had to foul to get another possession down 81-80. Paul Pierce iced the Celtics win.

Its disappointing, especially when, myself, I have a chance to tie it and send the game to overtime, said Horford. Thats tough to swallow. Both of the free throws felt good. The first one, I was surprised that I missed. Its one of those things that its hard and thats something that I have to keep working on and get better for next season.

After being eliminated from the playoffs, Horford looked back at the shots he could have made. Across the hall, Daniels looked back on the shots he prevented as the Celtics moved on to play the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round.

I just try to stay in the game the whole time regardless of if Im playing, said Daniels. Im always going to Doc saying, 'look at this play' or giving advice to guys coming off the floor. I try to make sure I stay in the game because of situations like this. You.never know.

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All-Stars, studs and duds: Westbrook's reign as MVP comes to an end

All-Stars, studs and duds: Westbrook's reign as MVP comes to an end

NEW ORLEANS – You don’t rack up triple doubles at a historically ridiculous rate the way Russell Westbrook does without being able to dish out an assist from time to time.

The biggest assist he made in the 66th annual NBA all-star didn’t make its way on to the stats sheet.

But it was historical in so many ways.

Westbrook’s advice to Anthony Davis on how to win the game’s MVP award was indeed taken to heart with Davis winning the award following the Western Conference’s 192-182 win over the East All-Stars.

Davis finished with a game-high 52 points, shattering the previous mark set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

Davis won the MVP award after Westbrook had won it each of the two previous All-Star games.

Prior to the game, Davis said he did do a little lobbying among his fellow all-stars in the locker room.

“I stressed that, I think more than enough, to the guys in the locker room before the game that I wanted to get the MVP for this crowd, for this city, and I ended up doing it.”

Following the game, Westbrook acknowledged that he did speak with Davis about how to win the MVP award.

When asked about what he said, Westbrook replied, “I’m not going to tell you, but he did a good job and got it done.”

Despite not winning the MVP award, Westbrook had a dominant game of his own as he tallied 41 points which was one point shy of the previous record.

But after the game, it was clear that he was more pleased with the performance of Davis.

“It was great,” Westbrook said. “It’s definitely always a great thing to do, especially here where he plays in front of his fans, his family. It’s a great experience and definitely happy for him.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the 66th annual NBA all-star game.

 

STARS

Anthony Davis

The hometown team’s best player delivered a scoring night for the ages, finishing with an All-Star record 52 points on 26-for-39 shooting to go with 10 rebounds. The previous record of 42 points was set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

Russell Westbrook

His All-Star reign as the game’s MVP came to an end after having won the award the previous two All-Star games. He finished with 41 points.

 

STUDS

Giannis Antetokounmpo

He was an above-the-rim monster, scoring 30 points primarily on a dozen dunks.

Kevin Durant

He was filling up the stat sheet in several categories for the West, finishing with a triple-double of 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Kyrie Irving

Arguably the best performer for the East, Irving had 22 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas

There were others who had a more prolific night shooting the ball, but Thomas’ impact off the bench was indeed felt. He led all East reserves with 20 points.

James Harden

The bearded one had a triple-double as well, although not the kind he would prefer. Along with scoring 12 points, and dishing out 12 assists, Harden also racked up a game-high 10 turnovers.

 

DUDS

None

There were some guys who didn’t do much statistically, but with this being such an exhibition-like event, putting too much stock in any player’s performance is a waste of time. They are among the top 24 or so players in the NBA. No amount of missed shots or turnovers will change that fact.