Daniels out indefinitely with bruised spinal cord


Daniels out indefinitely with bruised spinal cord

By A. Sherrod Blakely

BOSTON The Celtics had every reason to fear the worst.

Marquis Daniels, who has a history of back problems dating back to as recently as nine months ago, was motionless on the floor near the Celtics bench after colliding with Gilbert Arenas' shoulder while attempting to drive to the basket.

While there are still tests to be run and examinations to be made, the initial prognosis was about as encouraging as the Celtics could have imagined.

Daniels has a bruised spinal cord that will keep him out of action for a while. As of now, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is hopeful Daniels can return to action in a month or two.

Daniels suffered a similar injury last season in the playoffs against the Magic.

Team physician Dr. Brian McKeon said Sunday's injury is related to the previous one.

"We're getting all the tests now and we'll have more information for you Monday," McKeon said. "We'll get CT Scans, MRIs and then Serial examinations."

While the Garden faithful sat in shock as Daniels went down and didn't move, Celtics coach Doc Rivers knew it was serious as soon as Daniels hit the floor.

"It was no doubt," Rivers said. "Right when he went down I was already on the floor. Arenas or someone was standing near him and I just told him, 'Don't touch him.' Because I . . . you could see it was not good."

Ainge visited Daniels at New England Baptist hospital shortly after he was transported there after being carted off the Garden floor - he gave the fans a thumbs up on his way out.

The biggest fear when a player suffers the kind of injury that Daniels did is the potential for paralysis.

While there was some initial tingling sensations, Daniels had regained all movement of his extremities by the time Ainge saw him.

"I think he was scared when he was out on the court because he couldn't really move there for a short period of time so that scared him," Ainge said. "But he's had some issues with this before and some tingling in his body and his arms and things before so I think he wasn't scared, he was fine. He had it last year against Orlando in Game Five and I'm not sure before that. He's had a couple of episodes throughout his career."

It wasn't just the Celtics players affected by Daniels' injury.

Daniels grew up in Edgewater, Fla., which is just outside of Orlando.

In the offseason, Daniels spends time with a number of Magic players, including Dwight Howard, who acknowledged after the game how difficult it was for him to keep playing after Daniels' injury.

"It was sad to see somebody I know down on the ground like that," Howard said. "I just hope he's OK."

Howard added, "I was hurting the whole game, just thinking about him on the ground; his family, friends watching. I know it's something that nobody wants to see; especially when it's somebody you know."

Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu added, "I'm just praying that it's nothing serious. I just pray to God that he's OK."

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

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Pregame number: Al Horford to the rescue


Pregame number: Al Horford to the rescue

Tonight’s pregame number to watch is 45.4%. That was the Celtics' score frequency on pick and rolls finished by the screener last season, which was the worst rate in the NBA.

Score Frequency: The percentage of possession in which the team or player scores at least 1 point.

The major problem for the Celtics last season was personnel, as Jared Sullinger finished the most pick and roll plays for the C’s after setting a screen, and he was -- to put it nicely -- freaking terrible. Sullinger was the second-worst roll/pop man in the league, averaging a paltry 0.87 points per possession.

Fortunately, the Celtics replaced Jared Sullinger with four-time All-Star Al Horford, who is one of the elite roll/pop men in the NBA. Last season, Horford finished fifth in the NBA averaging 1.13 points per possession as a roll/pop man and boasted a more than solid 57.1 eFG% on those plays. 

eFG% (Effective Field Goal Percentage): Measures field goal percentage adjusting for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal. The equation is ((FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA

If you watched the preseason, then you already know the kind of impact Horford can have on the Celtics half court offense. So keep an eye out for those pick and rolls tonight and throughout the season, and we should see that 45.4% Score Frequency jump somewhere closer to 50%.