The talk going into this season was that this Celtics team was extremely deep. After just the third preseason game of the season, the Celtics showed just how deep they were.
Beating the New Jersey Nets 100-93 at the TD Garden, it was the second unit- not the first- that gave the Celtics some breathing room in the fourth quarter. Playing with a lineup of Lester Hudson, Eddie House, Marquis Daniels, Glen Davis, and Rasheed Wallace, the Celtics turned a two point game at the start of the fourth quarter into a 13 point game in under six minutes.
Paul Pierce, who scored a game high 25 points on 8-12 shooting, was quick to give credit where credit is due.
Speaking after the game, Pierce said, "To tell you the truth I think our second unit was a lot more impressive than we were. They were the ones who pushed the lead out and they're looking like they're gelling well together."
Daniels, who saw time at small forward today during that fourth quarter run, knows how important it is to pick up where the first unit left off.
"We did a lot of great things in the second half," said Daniels. "When the first team comes out we have to look to continue to build the lead, keep the pressure on the other team, and keep things going."
Eddie House was quick to echo Daniels' thoughts, saying, "We want to be an extension of what the first group does, we don't want to be a drop off when we come into the game. We got Rasheed with his presence, Baby (Glen Davis) with the throw down at the post and then we got shooters out there, also with Marquis slashing."
Anchoring the lineup during this scoring run was Celtics second round draft pick Lester Hudson. Hudson, who doesn't have much experience at point guard, played the part to his best ability at this stage in his young career.
"Lester is going to be a good player but he's never played point (guard) before, and you could see that when they were pressuring him," said coach Doc Rivers. "He was almost running away from the ball and actually you're the guy that has to come get the ball. He is a confident kid and a quick learner, at least defensively, so that's good."
"[Hudson] played good, he's still learning on the fly and he's doing a lot of good things," teammate Marquis Daniels said. "He's a sponge though; he's soaking up everything we're telling him."
There is an old saying that goes, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." While Doc Rivers is the coach of this team and a former point guard himself, there are many veterans on this team who have the experience and knowledge to also teach young players like Hudson. It is encouraging to know that Hudson is soaking up everything that players like Daniels are teaching him.
"[Daniels'] basketball IQ is really high," said Rivers. "You knew he had a good one because he played point before, but I didn't know it's where it's at. He cuts instinctively and just has an unbelievable feel for where to be on the floor."
By being able to play three positions effectively, it is clear that Marquis Daniels is the floor general that the Celtics' second unit was missing last year. If he can come in and lead the second unit while guys like Ray Allen, Pierce, or even Rondo rest, the Celtics will find much more success in holding off their opponent than they did last season.