Davis goes into free agency after poor playoff run

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Davis goes into free agency after poor playoff run

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

MIAMI The playoffs didn't go the way Boston Celtics forward Glen Davis expected, personally or for his team.

The Celtics lost the series, four games to one, to the Miami Heat with Wednesday's 97-87 loss in Game 5.

And for most of the series, Davis looked and played like he was, well, lost.

That's usually not a good thing for an undersized power forward who looks to have bulked up in all the wrong places, and who is about to hit the free agent market.

When you throw in the uncertainty that exists because of the potential NBA work stoppage (or lockout, depending on your semantics), there's no sense of how Davis will fare as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

In nine playoff games this year, Davis averaged 4.9 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 39 percent from the field -- all below his career playoff numbers in those categories.

Even with the struggles, Davis remains convinced his struggles in the playoffs this year won't impact his free agency.

"You can't just base it off this playoffs," Davis said. "My whole body of work, I feel like I can play in this league, I can start in this league. From my second year when Kevin Garnett went down, my third year. . . And this year was my best year. I just didn't play well in the playoffs this year. But things happen like that. I don't think these playoffs will hurt me as much."

In the regular season, Davis averaged a career-highs in points per game (11.7) and rebounds per game (5.4).

Had he produced similar numbers in the Heat series, there's a very good chance that the Celtics would still be getting ready for another playoff game.

While Davis expects teams to express interest in re-signing him, he's not completely shutting the door on returning to Boston.

"I love Boston. That's where I started at," Davis said. "I plan on wishing I could stay, but you never know. The Kendrick Perkins situation; he'd been here eight years. He wanted to stay. But it just might not work my way. That's just how it is."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Chris Mannix: 'Great chance' Celtics capture No. 1 seed

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Chris Mannix: 'Great chance' Celtics capture No. 1 seed

Chris Mannix discusses the Boston Celtics chances of sealing the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and which low-seed team will give them the most problems in the playoffs.

Kelly Olynyk's 3-point game is helping him produce all over floor

Kelly Olynyk's 3-point game is helping him produce all over floor

Waltham, mass. – Kelly Olynyk is in a good place right now. 

He’s playing a key role on one of the top teams in the NBA, doing more than just stretch the floor with long-range jumpers and 3-pointers. He has been a solid positional defender most of his time in the NBA, but lately he has become one of the team’s best rebounders … really!

But more than anything, Olynyk is in the best shape of his career both mentally and physically, delivering strong play in several categories.

“When he plays aggressive and with confidence, that’s when he’s at his best,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. 

And lately, the best of Olynyk has been in steady rotation for the Celtics who will host the Phoenix Suns tonight. 

Olynyk attributes his recent strong play to seizing his opportunity to help the Celtics in what has been a season-long area of weakness. The fourth-year big man is a threat to score from 3-point range whenever he’s on the floor. Because of that, teams are overly concerned about his long-range shooting which has allowed him to be an effective driver into the paint and finisher around the rim. 

He has also benefited by being healthy, something he could not say was the case on the eve of the Celtics’ postseason run last season which ended in the second round to the Atlanta Hawks. Olynyk was hampered by a sore right shoulder injury that limited him in the playoffs against Atlanta, and later required surgery which sidelined him for the start of this season. 

But those pain-filled days where he gave more thought to his shoulder rather than shouldering a greater load for the Celtics, are behind him now. 

“It’s something that I had to deal with and I had to get surgery,” Olynyk said. “Now it feels better than it has. I feel strong, confident, ready to roll.”

Boston has won five of its last six games, and the play of Olynyk off the bench has been among the reasons for the team’s latest run of success. In those six games, Olynyk has averaged 10.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting a team-high 64.9 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range in 20.5 minutes per game – all better than his season average in those respective categories. 

And among Celtics players who have averaged double-digit minutes in that span, Olynyk has a team-best rebounding percentage of .170 in addition to an effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) of .689 which is also tops among Boston players during their last six games.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens isn’t surprised to see Olynyk playing as well as he has now that he’s injury-free.

“I don’t think there’s anything more important than playing with clear minds and fresh legs,” Stevens said. “I just think that, and not being injured is a big part of that.”

For Olynyk, part of the challenge he has had since coming to the NBA was finding that balance between being aggressive and assertive, while making sure he got teammates involved when the opportunity presents itself.

“There’s definitely a fine line between being aggressive, forcing things, over-aggressive and create and open things up for others,” Olynyk said. “It’s kind of a balance, kind of like a yin and yang; just go out and play basketball the way you know how to play it. That’s what’s going to make you the best version of yourself and your team the best version they can be.”

Olynyk’s teammates encourage him often (Avery Bradley and Thomas are probably the two most consistent in his ear) to be more assertive, but they recognize he tends to be hesitant far too often for a player with his skillset.

“When he’s second-guessing and … shot-faking when he should have shot, just not being the aggressive player that we need him to be … we don’t need him to be like that,” said Thomas. “We believe in him. He just has to remain confident at all times. When he’s confident and aggressive, he’s a hell of a player.”