Welcome to your Daily NBA Fix for Saturday, April 26, the morning after a Houston Rockets rookie named Troy Daniels defied conventional NBA wisdom.
Daniels was an undrafted free agent out of VCU and played for the Charlotte Bobcats during the NBA Summer League last year. He signed with the Bobcats on Sept. 30. He was cut by the Bobcats on Oct. 10. He signed with the Rockets on Oct. 18. He was cut by the Rockets on Oct. 26.
Sensing a theme?
He signed with the NBA Developmental League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers in November and shortly after the trade deadline in February, the Rockets signed Daniels again, but left him at Rio Grande Valley.
He was recalled on March 3 and made his NBA debut on March 5, playing an unremarkable 92 seconds in a win at Orlando.
He wound up logging 75 minutes in five games for the Rockets, 44 of them in the season finale at New Orleans on April 16.
Daniels didn’t get off the bench for either of the Rockets’ first two games of their first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers, both losses at home.
So if there was a guy that would be named Least Likely To Be On The Floor In Crunch Time, it was Troy Daniels.
So when he found himself on the floor at the end of overtime Friday night at the Moda Center in Portland, he was still the guy that would be voted Least Likely To Touch The Ball In A Tie Game In Overtime.
But there was a scramble for a loose ball. Jeremy Lin grabbed it, saw a guy in a red jersey open at the 3-point line and threw him the ball.
Daniels did the rest, knocking down a go-ahead 3-pointer as the Rockets pulled out an absolutely crucial 121-116 OT win to avoid falling into a 3-0 hole.
It’s not like Daniels is shy about taking 3-pointers—he averaged 12.5 a game for the Vipers in the D-League. The Vipers are that crazy team that shoots about 65 million 3-pointers a game (OK, so it was actually 45.4 attempts per game, but still) and Daniels was a big part of that with 599 attempts in 48 games. He hit 40.1 percent of them.
He took six shots Friday night in his 20 minutes … all of them from behind the arc, where he was 3-for-6 for nine points.
In a game that is so very often decided by the same cadre of superstars getting the ball at the end of close games, it’s rare for a guy like Troy Daniels to get a chance to take a game-deciding shot.
It’s even rarer for those guys when they go in.
The Daily NBA Fix will do what it did all season long, deliver highlights, game capsules, the top and bottom five players and, yes, we’ll still be handing out the Goose Egg, Clean and Sober and Ironman awards. We’ll also have informational tidbits and a look at the daily lines for those who want to drop a buck or two on a wager.
Check out the highlights below from the night that was, then get into the game capsules (home teams in CAPS).