With Paul Pierce out of tonight's game, the Celtics' Marquis Daniels started in his first game of the season as the Celtics outscored the Knicks 110-106. Daniels filled in nicely for Pierce, and ended the night with 14 points while playing some decent defense, in a game where decent defense was hard to find.
"I think [Daniels] can play with anybody; I love playing with ‘Quis," said Rajon Rondo who scored fifteen points and tied a season high with 16 assists. "He's probably the best cutter in the game. He moves very well without the ball. His man will lose sight of him; he's a great back cutter. Of course it's obvious he's a great defensive stopper. He's probably our best defensive player on ball- him and T.A. so he does his role very well and doesn't complain about anything. He goes out there and does the little things so you love to play with a guy like that."
A lot of the success Daniels has comes from knowing what to do in every situation without the ball in his hands. Daniels may not be the centerpiece of this team, but he has shown since the return from his thumb injury that he is very important to its success.
"He scores whatever he scored tonight- 14 points- without one play called for him," Doc Rivers said of Daniels. "All were cuts. He just has a knack for knowing when to cut, where to cut. He just has a great basketball feel and timing. Just think, what last year- we'd have been in trouble. We didn't have a back-up three for most of the year."
While Daniels stepped up in place of Pierce tonight, Ray Allen continued to pile on the points since the trade deadline ended, scoring 24 points en route to his fourth straight 20+ point game. He also swatted a David Lee layup late in the fourth quarter that was key to the Celtics victory tonight.
"I think at this point Ray is just letting a lot of things coming to him. He's just shooting lights out. With Paul out he's the first to take the initiative of being a more offensive threat. He knows a lot of sets are going to be called for him and he's aggressive."
Allen insists that he was not worried about the trade deadline and that it being over with has no bearing on his play as of late.
"I never really worried about it because I couldn't," said Allen. "My job was where it was right here. We spoke, Doc, he said numerous times that this is a team he loves and this is a team we're going to move forward with to try to win a championship so I wasn't worried about it. We didn't even talk about it in the locker room so it wasn't a concern of any of ours. I just believe that just having the break everybody got rejuvenated and everybody has come back and I think we're coming back because of it."
The Celtics hope that they can take the momentum from this win into Thursday night's showdown against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics are 1-0 against the Cavs this season, but that win came during the first game of the season.
House returns to old home
Eddie House and Bill Walker made their return to the TD Garden tonight, but took a seat on the opposite end of the hallway in the visitor's locker room. House ended the night with four points, five rebounds, and five assists, and Bill Walker added a season high seven points. House will surely be missed by Celtics fans as well as members of the Celtics team that grew so fond of him over the years.
During a time-out in the first quarter, there was an Eddie House tribute shown on the JumboTron followed by an "Ed-die! Ed-die!" chant that echoed throughout the Garden. Out of the timeout, House took to the court and waved a thank-you to all the fans for their support over the years.
"Oh it was beautiful man, and I love the fans for the way they showed their love for me," House told WEEI.com. "I have just as much love for them. I loved playing here, it was a great place. What a great run I had, winning a championship and having a chance to try to do it again last year, it was great. You know, I love the city of Boston."
It is undoubtedly hard to lose someone that meant so much to your success over the past couple of seasons, but players like Garnett and Rondo will have to adjust to life without House for the rest of the season anyways.
"When you lose a personal friend, not just a teammate but a personal friend, you always wish him the best," said Garnett of House. "I just want to see him in good health. It's good to see a classy organization give it up for him. It doesn't always go like that, and that was just good to see, we all have a great appreciation for Eddie House."
"When we first saw each other he came into the locker room before the game and we talked a little bit, you know Eddie and I were really close," Rondo said. "We were the back court and we've been together for three years. It was difficult losing Eddie, but you know it's a business you have to move on and we will still continue our relationship off the court and we both wish each other the best."
For House, the idea of going from a contender to a team that will be nowhere in sight come playoff time is tough to swallow.
"It's hard, just losing," admitted House. "That's the hard thing, I'm not used to losing. I haven't been on a losing team I quite a long time. That's the toughest thing is taking these L's."
Bill Walker, on the other hand, might be a little more content with his situation. Walker scored a total of eight points this season for the Celtics, but scored seven in just this game tonight against his old team.
"I think I'm more suited for the up and down game. Stuff like that. But I'm glad I spent time with Boston, just learning how to do things the right way. I learned so many lessons just being over there, listening to those guys and how they prepare for a game... It was a great learning experience but I'm ready to move forward and progress."