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'Quis confident despite obstacles

Rocky Widner/Getty Images

Celtics swingman Marquis Daniels.WALTHAM, Mass. -- Marquis Daniels is once again flying under the radar, even though he didn't plan it that way.

You know how it goes: Out of sight, out of mind. Daniels hasn't impacted a Celtics box score in over a week, thanks to virtually every road block that can stand in a player's way. He suffered through a head-scratching 0-for-7 shooting performance in last Wednesday's 89-70 victory over the New Jersey Nets, in which he missed six shots less than 9 feet from the rim. He then came down with an undisclosed illness that kept him out of practice Monday and Tuesday before a random flurry of painful migraines, coupled with the debut of Mickael Pietrus, kept him glued to the bench for the entirety of Boston's 90-85 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

He hopes the physical ailments are behind him now, but Daniels still needs to shake off the rust. His main comfort is the fact that, during that victory over the Nets, all of Daniels' misses came on shots that he likes to take, and typically makes, including a number of very makeable layups.

As a result, he still boasts the same confidence level he did before the sudden rash of adversity.

"I definitely never lose my confidence," Daniels said following the Celtics' practice at the Celtics Training Center at HealthPoint on Thursday. "Those are things that happen in the game. You're going to miss shots. You've just got to be ready to take the next one and be willing to try to make it count. I'm just looking forward to my next time, my next shot, and just making everything count, just keep playing hard."

"I don't care if I go 0-for1,000, I'll still keep my confidence. I've always got to be looking forward to the next shot and be ready for whenever my time comes."

There's reason to believe Daniels will turn his game around, mainly because throughout his career he's never shot so poorly from so many different spots on the floor. According to HoopData, Daniels is shooting drastically low percentages from every measurable range -- compared to recent seasons -- including at the rim, where he's converted a mere 43.8 percent of his looks. Over the previous five seasons, Daniels never shot lower than 60 percent at the rim. Given his history of making such shots, if given the opportunities, there's reason to believe Daniels will once again up his percentages.

The addition of Pietrus could take away from Daniels' playing time, though, depending on which look C's coach Doc Rivers is envisioning for his evolving second unit. Right now, he has a clear intention.

"Either they’ll play together, or Pietrus will play," said Rivers. "Because Pietrus is playing, I can tell you that. Then Marquis will fit it wherever we play him."

The idea of Pietrus and Daniels playing together in the same lineup is an intriguing one, due to the versatility of both players, and the size they would bring to the wing positions. Daniels, for one, is enticed by the prospect.

"Mickael, he's a good scorer, he can shoot the ball real well," Daniels said. "He plays hard, he's a hard-nosed defender, also. I think it can cause some matchup problems. Usually you have a smaller guard in there, so one of us can get a post-up opportunity, and he's a great player, so I think it can be good."

Daniels could help open things up for Pietrus offensively, and vice versa. Daniels has always possessed a reliable talent for making plays, whether they've come on his glossy drives to the rim, or his frequent and timely cuts to the basket. His ability to get to the basket and draw in help defenders, coupled with his passing ability, could open up looks for Pietrus and other teammates.

"I can get in the lane, if I can draw some more people, draw [Pietrus'] man to me, whoever's man, get them some open shots, that's always a good thing," said Daniels.

The arrangement would result in a bigger second unit than what's been on display thus far, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, and there's the extra element of both Daniels and Pietrus being serviceable defenders against opposing perimeter players. Rivers might be inclined to experiment, particularly if the second unit's offense doesn't mature at a quick enough pace.

"Our second group is playing good, whether it's me, or it's Avery [Bradley], or it's Mickael, or Keyon [Dooling], whoever it is," said Daniels. "They're doing a good job. We've just got to pick up more on our offensive schemes. As long as we keep playing hard defensively, I think we'll get it together."

"[The second unit's offense is] coming along slowly, but it's getting there."