Daniels’ return could provide spark for Celts

Posted Feb. 02, 2010, at 12:01 a.m.
Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche blocks a shot by Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Washington Monday, Feb. 1, 2010.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche blocks a shot by Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Washington Monday, Feb. 1, 2010.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Daniels can help out in so many different ways in addition to spelling the veterans

What do we know about Marquis Daniels? Not much. But he could be the man who revives the slumping Boston Celtics when he returns from thumb surgery later this month.

The 6-foot-6 Daniels averaged 13.6 points and 4.6 rebounds with the Indiana Pacers a year ago and is also an athletic shutdown defender.

He can play guard or small forward.

The Celtics have blown 14- and 11-point fourth-quarter leads in losses to Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers, respectively, and have looked old and tired in doing so.

Having Daniels in the lineup may have made the difference because he can help out in so many different ways in addition to spelling the veterans.

Ray Allen shot 14-for-35 in consecutive losses to Orlando, Atlanta and the Lakers. He hit his first seven shots against Orlando and then went 7-for-28 after that.

He is a streak shooter who can’t be relied upon to take the game’s final shot any more. Daniels gives them another option and the threat of him nailing a jumper could create more space for Allen and Paul Pierce, who are the usual crunch-time shooters.

Opponents are leaving Rajon Rondo open to take jump shots because he is reluctant to take them. He doesn’t have confidence in his jump shot.

He uses his lightning quickness to drive the lane and score.

That enables opponents to double-up on Allen or Pierce.

Kevin Garnett’s knee is still a question mark although they are a much better team with him in the lineup.

The Celtics certainly hope his play will continue to improve as he gets in better game shape.

They need him to provide the defensive presence he had before he got injured.

They also need him to rebound better because that has been a team weakness. Daniels can help out there, too.

By Larry Mahoney

Moss, stars shouldn’t skip NFL’s Pro Bowl

Like most Americans, even the sports fans, I didn’t watch much of Sunday’s NFL Pro Bowl game.

I will admit to sneaking peeks every now and then, especially when I thought New England’s Brandon Merriweather might have been the one getting burned by Steve Smith’s 48-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter.

I did catch some of the pregame ceremonies during player introductions, and it reinforced my opinion that Patriots receiver Randy Moss and others of his ilk in the professional football playing community should shelve their ski trip plans or weekend getaway to Cabo and accept their invitations to play in the NFL’s all-star game.

The NFL moved the game to the week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl to make the game more relevant — to fans and media members alike.

If the NFL really wants to make the game relevant and meaningful, it must consider instituting serious penalties for players who choose to skip it. It’s bad enough — with the current league schedule — that the game will be missing the best players from the two participating Super Bowl teams. If the league continues to allow the rest of the eligible players to shrug the game off, what kind of message does it send to those same fans and media members it is trying to convince of the game’s relevancy?

Barring medical concerns or family/personal emergencies, the NFL’s best, or at least the NFL’s best players who are available to play, should at the very least attend the game. They owe it to the fans who have made the NFL the country’s most popular professional sports league and they owe it to NFL officials who are struggling to make what has become the weakest of American professional sports league all-star games at least worthwhile.

If players like Moss continue to treat the game as an afterthought at best or an inconvenience at worst, why should the rest of us do any different?

Andrew Neff

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