Daniels becomes improbable hero for Rockets in Game 3

By Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com

VIDEO: Troy Daniels shines with big 3 to save Rockets

Like James Harden, Mr. 32.9 percent from the field in the playoffs, was going to save the Rockets’ night and probably their season. The Rockets weren’t going to throw the ball to Dwight Howard with the clock draining down from 20 seconds to 15 to 12. Chandler Parsons had fouled out with 3:40 left in overtime. They didn’t have many good options.

Enter Troy Daniels.

Not just into the game, either. Into franchise lore, basically. Getting the ball for the shot of his life happened only thanks to a broken play where Harden lost control, and the reason he was out on the court at all in that situation may have only been because Parsons fouled out. What happened, in other words, was never supposed to happen.

An undrafted rookie out of Virginia Commonwealth, Daniels played for the Bobcats in summer league and played five games and 75 minutes for the Rockets. He spent most of the season with their D-League affiliate Rio Grande. And on Friday he saved Houston from a 3-0 deficit in the first round against the Trail Blazers that would have meant almost certain elimination.

It was Daniels who did not hesitate when he got the ball while open on the left side, Daniels who did not flinch as LaMarcus Aldridge ran at him, and Daniels who hit the 27-foot 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds remaining in Portland that gave the visitors a 119-116 lead that became a 121-116 victory to climb back within 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

“It’s a dream come true,” Daniels said. “Plain and simple.”

Except that it was anything but plain and simple. The shot itself, maybe — Daniels was known as a 3-point threat. In college, though. In the D-League.

In the NBA? In the playoffs?

He wasn’t known as that. He wasn’t known as anything.

“We needed someone to make a couple 3s,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said. “Or three 3s.”

Daniels had them covered. He made the three in six tries, with all of his shots coming from behind the arc in 20 minutes of his first playoff game. He was that someone.

28 Comments

  1. Mike says:

    Blazers are on fire. Every player is hungry for the win, for help, for rush moment. Teamplay. Rockets are not. Selfish. This guy, Daniels, he is the only man who is hungry, concentrated and push 100%.

  2. Hubert says:

    If Harden moves the ball more when he can’t make the score shots, Rockets will fly!
    This is a real team work. But not really frequently occurs in Rocket. That’s why Rocks lost 2 games, due to Harden’s stubborn 35 shots each game. Rocks won’t move forward when I saw one scene last night that nobody came to help when Lin fell and lay on floor for half a minute. Howard was just there but no hand to help. This is a group of rocks, no hope at all!

  3. okc2014 says:

    Who will win this series? I can’t really tell who the emerging winner is. They are very closely matched up. Remember, Portland started the season in the Western Conference literally on top.

  4. Vic Nguyen says:

    #ClutchCity H-Town all the way, man. H-Town all the way.

  5. 4pt.Range says:

    How is the tackle of Mo Williams by Jeremy Lin not a foul? NBA game fixing at it’s best.

  6. this is very poor writing.

    “Were the Rockets weren’t going to throw the ball” ??

    “He spent most of the season with their D-League affiliate Rio Grande, saving Houston from an 0-3 deficit in the first round”?? did he really spend most of the season saving Houston from an 0-3 deficit?

    Finally, your use of semicolons is very poor.

    How do you get to be a writer for a major sports organization without basic grammar skills?

    PS: if you can’t see the errors, don’t reply to my post bashing me because “it looks ok” to you.

  7. Scott says:

    Lin saved the ball is part of the this key play

  8. nick says:

    It was not a great coaching.It was a great help from referees.it was a fault of Harden just before the shot.Like always dirty plays.can’t take series without referees help.

    • basketball e says:

      The same can be said about your team and the last two games… so stop crying because there’s been crucial bad calls going both ways. That last play however had nothing to do with the referees.

  9. hubert says:

    This is a real team work. But not really frequently occurs in Rocket. That’s why Rocks lost 2 games, due to Harden’s stubborn 35 shots each game. Rocks won’t move forward when I saw one scene last night that nobody came to help when Lin fell and lay on floor for half a minute. Howard was just there but no hand to help. This is a group of rocks, no hope at all!

  10. Sedare says:

    Seeing that Daniels was a astronomical liability on defense, portland would welcome him on the floor over Parsons for any of the 48 minutes. He even collied with D Howard, and cost them a possession.

    Be weary of his offense… Because defense wins games.

    If the Rockets lean on this kid, they will find themselves down 3-1 in a hurry.

  11. tonystone says:

    Don’t forget Jeremy Lin’s efforts to save the ball and a great dish!!!!

  12. TheKush says:

    This was an example of great coaching! The experience of Kevin McHale to put that kid in there saved the day

  13. l0l says:

    this kid shot 50% from 3 and made the most important shot for the Houston this season, so far. Keep it up Houston; win game #4 in Portland and make the series fun again! if Portland gets up 3-1 the series will be done.

  14. Ken says:

    good shot tonight!

  15. Red says:

    Clutch!

  16. pinoy_idol says:

    Never under estimate the heart of a champion!!! #REDNATION

  17. Like he said, he was just waiting for the moment to come, and when the oppurtunity came, he took it and amazed the whole stadium. #proud#supporter#right#here#

  18. djaehne says:

    It was big-time stuff from a rookie.

  19. jdub455 says:

    Damn, those rockets are really having a hard time!! I still think Portland will take this series… but if the rockets can somehow win game 4, which I don’t think they will, then Houston we have a problem!

  20. jimathai says:

    proofreading is not a crime