Davis steady during Celtics' torrid stretch

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Davis steady during Celtics' torrid stretch

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WALTHAM Boston Celtics forward Glen Davis has heard it all.

You're not good enough.

You're too short.

You're too fat.

With so much negativity being tossed his way, it stands to reason that he plays the game with something to prove.

But there comes a time when it's not about proving a point; but simply, playing the game.

And this lesson is one Davis is still learning.

A muscle strain in Kevin Garnett's lower right leg forced him to miss nine games. In that time, Davis was the starter.

We have seen Davis fill in for Garnett in past years, but this time around it was different.

Davis knew he would have a limited number of games, because unlike the right knee injury Garnett suffered a couple years ago, the C's knew he would be back in a couple of weeks.

In that time, Davis would have a golden opportunity to play well, and potentially increase his stock as a free agent this summer.

He had his moments of stellar play.

There was the 17-point, 5-rebound night in Boston's 96-93 win over Minnesota. He later scored a season-high 23 points in Boston's 105-103 win over San Antonio, holders of the best record in the NBA.

Davis scored in double figures in all but one of the nine starts, but something wasn't right.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself when I was starting," Davis said. "I didn't play with a relaxed flow."

So while Davis was scoring, he needed a lot of shot attempts to do so. As a starter, he averaged about 14 shot attempts per game. While coming off the bench, Davis averages just a shade over 10 per game.

In addition to shooting more, Davis' defense and rebounding also suffered.

Following a 90-79 loss at Chicago, a game in which Davis played a season-high 43 minutes, coach Doc Rivers was clearly bothered by the number of shot attempts Davis took in relation to his teammates.

"We gotta shorten Baby's minutes, No. 1," Rivers said. "And we got to get him to be more of a pick-setter. Right now, he's more of a shooter. He's got to get back to setting picks."

At that time, Davis had taken more shots than Paul Pierce and Ray Allen over the course of the previous five games.

"I love him," Rivers said of Davis. "But that should never happen."

Davis acknowledged he hit a stretch as a starter when, frankly, he wasn't playing his game.

"I got out of myself and tried to be something else," Davis said. "That's not how it works. You have to be yourself."

And when he has simply been Glen Davis, the results have been impressive to the point where he is very much in the running for the league's Sixth Man of the Year award.

As a reserve, he's averaging 12.5 points per game.

While his scoring average (13.7) is slightly higher as a starter, his field goal percentage (48.4 to 41.1), free throw percentage (77.8 to 75) and rebound (5.7 to 4.2) numbers are all better when he's coming off the bench than they are when he's with the first unit.

Stretches of poor or inconsistent play have marred Davis during his three-plus seasons in Boston.

But this season, Davis' steady play has been one of the many keys to the Celtics (32-9) hitting the halfway point of the season with the best record in the Eastern Conference.

"Baby has his days, but overall, he's had very few of them," Rivers said. 'He has had a tremendous attitude, a team attitude in a contract year which is very difficult. I don't think he gets enough credit for that part of it. The only time he gets himself in trouble, is when he forgets that he's Glen Davis."

Rivers quipped, "I don't know how you can forget something that big, personally. He's just been fantastic. Our record is where it's at because we have Glen Davis on our team."

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

Wojnarowski thinks Celtics are perfect candidate for Jimmy Butler trade

Wojnarowski thinks Celtics are perfect candidate for Jimmy Butler trade

Most NBA teams would benefit from adding Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler. But few NBA have the assets to acquire him. The most legitimate suitor in the NBA resides in Boston.

"The potential of a Boston-Chicago deal for Jimmy Butler -- I think it will loom over the entire week," Yahoo! NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said Saturday. "These teams have engaged on the potential of this trade. They have not gotten far down the road on it. There still needs to be alignment within the Bulls organization -- from ownership to management -- that they want to make the decision to enter a full rebuild.

He added: "But the poential of this deal really illustrates the State Farm right combo, because these are two teams that have exactly what the other wants. Boston has been hoarding assets for years for a couple of season, trying to get in the position to get a star player."

Wojnarowski suggested the first building block for the Butler trade would start with either the 2017 or 2018 Brooklyn Nets' first-round pick, which the Celtics acquired in 2013 in the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade.

"And Jimmy Butler in Boston, paired with Isaiah Thomas and this Celtics team -- it would put this Celtics team in a position to seriously challenge Cleveland [Cavaliers] in the east, not only in the short term, but also in the long term."

Butler's contract extends to 2020, and then Wojnarowski explained Boston could then sign the guard to another long-term deal. In the meantime, he could help Boston surpass a vulnerable-looking Cavaliers team.

Forbes ranks Celtics as fifth-most valuable NBA franchise

Forbes ranks Celtics as fifth-most valuable NBA franchise

The Boston Celtics are one of the NBA's top teams -- and not just in terms of talent. Forbes has ranked the Celtics as the fifth-most valuable NBA franchise at $2.2 billion.

The Celtics "sport" valuation is one of the highest in the NBA at $674 million. Their "market" valuation comes in as $883 million, their "arena" valuation falls at $341 million and their "brand" valuation stands at $302 million.

Boston is a constant in a continually emerging NBA. Forbes reports the NBA is worth $1.36 billion, which 3.5 times its value five years ago. The league is also on a seven-year collective bargaining agreement that will provide stability in the league for that duration. The NBA also signed a $24 billion deal with ESPN and TNT that began at the start of the 2016-17 season.

The Celtics will continue to play an important part in the growth of the league.