Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Given the benefit of playing time against the Hawks, Daniels came off the bench with season-high totals in points (12), rebounds (eight) and a career-high four steals.
Once Rivers returns to his playoff rotation, Daniels’ short window is bound to close. Rivers can lose faith quickly in players, and it takes him time to redevelop trust. But right now Daniels clearly has the coach’s attention.
“He was terrific,” said Rivers. “The best game he may have played this year. He was terrific, and he did a lot of things. The little baskets and the rebounds — he had eight rebounds. It was good to see him compete. He was active, alert, responsive, that’s what you want him to be.”
"We always say you push and pull and … if you're not playing and a new guy comes in and you think he's going to take your minutes, then you should play harder," Rivers said. "It's a man's game."
Hollins had eight points and five rebounds in Boston's 97-92 loss to Atlanta while playing more than 30 minutes – all season highs with the C's.
Marquis might see some action in the playoffs, if Ray Allen's ankle or Mickael Pietrus' knee remain issues. But Daniels is behind Sasha Pavlovic on the depth chart, so might really means probably won't.
Hollins could get 3-4 minutes if Greg Stiemsma gets buried with foul trouble.
File both under: Break glass in case of emergency
On Page 2, is Avery Bradley the league's most improved player?
Depending on one’s perspective, players like James Harden and Ryan Anderson could be considered for the honor in that they have gone from steady contributors to featured performers. Jeremy Lin is an obvious candidate. He went from one foot out of the league to magazine covers, but his rise had to do with opportunity as much as improvement. Then there’s Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic, who went from lumbering foul-prone oaf to menacing, and quite skilled, sidekick for Kevin Love.
Bradley’s rise is no less remarkable. He played only 162 undistinguished minutes last season as a rookie. He took 67 shots, missed 44 of them and scored almost half his points in a 20-point outburst on the season’s final day in a glorified exhibition against the Knicks. He had more turnovers (16) than assists (12) and a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 2.2.
In his second season, Bradley has played more than 1,200 minutes and is shooting better than 50 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3-point range. His defense has been otherworldly at times and since his surprise insertion into the starting lineup on March 25, the Celtics had gone 12-5 and moved from the back of the pack in the Eastern Conference playoff race to the top of the Atlantic Division.
There's zero chance Bradley wins this award. He was MIA for half the season. But I agree with Paul Flannery's assertion, AB has made the biggest leap of all the players mentioned above.
Thanks to Brian P. for passing along this highlight video of AB doin' work.
The rest of the links: