|Marquis Daniels runs back upcourt after a basket; he had 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting. (Michael Conroy/Associated Press)|
Daniels’s height carried weight
INDIANAPOLIS — On two straight possessions last night, the Celtics’ Marquis Daniels found himself staring down at the top of Pacers guard T.J. Ford’s head, and being 6 inches taller, all Daniels could do was take advantage of the odd matchup.
The first time he pivoted, leaned in, and floated in a layup as if he were shooting over a stool.
When the Celtics got the ball back, coach Doc Rivers, eyes lighting up at the mismatch, barked, “Same thing.’’
When Daniels is on the floor with Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett, he tends to draw a favorable matchup.
“You get a smaller guy down there, you’ve got to take advantage of it regardless of who it is,’’ Daniels said after scoring 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the Celtics’ 95-83 win over Indiana. “Either they’re going to double-team me or we’re going to get a good shot. My shots were falling, and I was able to find guys, and they were knocking down shots also.’’
Daniels finished the night plus-17, and Garnett said there’s definitely chemistry when Daniels is on the floor with the core three.
“He took over from a defensive standpoint and then he had mismatches on the block, where I thought he did a great job of just keeping his composure and coming through with some offensive plays,’’ Garnett said.
“We went through him. That second half was totally through him, and I thought he did a great job of being responsible with it and converting it to baskets and points.’’
Garnett said he’s lobbied Rivers to play Daniels with the starters more often.
“I think when he’s very valuable is when he’s with us,’’ Garnett said. “When he’s with the first group, I think he flows more. Offensively, it flows through him. He has a lot of mismatches.’’
Crash course A third-quarter collision between the Celtics’ Nate Robinson and the Pacers’ Mike Dunleavy left both players with stitches, and the swelling over Robinson’s left eye after the game made it look like he and Dunleavy had just gone 12 rounds.
The two smacked heads going for the ball in front of the Celtics bench. Robinson was hunched over, and by the time he became upright he had a handful of blood.
“I don’t remember what happened, all I remember is the blood and just running to the back,’’ Robinson said. “I just put my hand down, I just knew it was going to be blood. I just knew. It was a nice clean hit.’’
Robinson needed six stitches over that left eye, Dunleavy required six over his right. Robinson was whistled for the foul.
“I don’t understand how I got the foul,’’ he said. “I’m 5-9 . . . I didn’t jump up.’’
Robinson was already dealing with a stomach illness entering the game. He had to leave with trainer Ed Lacerte in the second quarter because he felt like he was going to throw up.
“I was at the top of the key, I almost threw up on [Ford],’’ Robinson said. “That’s when I ran to the back. I almost pulled a Willie Beamen on them. Almost.’’
Foul ball A day after being fined $35,000 for criticizing officials after fouling out of the Celtics’ Christmas Day loss to the Magic, Shaquille O’Neal fouled out again. It’s the third time this month he’s been unable to stay on the floor because of fouls. This time his night ended after just 16 minutes. “I don’t obviously want him to foul out that quickly, but I thought he was ready and he played hard,’’ Rivers said. “He just keeps finding bad places on the floor. It’s not like this is going to go on all year. This is just a stretch he’s going through. It’ll work itself out.’’ . . . The Celtics were delayed leaving Conseco Fieldhouse because security found an unidentified object on the team bus.
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.