Boston Celtics

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

30 teams in 30 days: Another struggle in New Orleans for Boogie and The Brow

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30 teams in 30 days: Another struggle in New Orleans for Boogie and The Brow

We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin! Today's team: The New Orleans Pelicans. 

Anthony Davis has waited patiently for the New Orleans Pelicans to assemble a cast around him that could be competitive in the West.
 
Still waiting...
 
The Pelicans have more big-name players on their roster this season, but those players, by and large, are well past their primes. And that will likely result in yet another playoff-less season.

 
New Orleans’ best hopes of bucking the odds and become a competitive, playoff-caliber team will hinge on how a couple of former Celtics perform.
 
Tony Allen and Rajon Rondo, both members of Boston’s 2008 championship team, will be looked upon to provide solid play as well as veteran leadership.
 
Rondo, now 31, a four-time All-Star, was in and out of the Chicago Bulls lineup last season before emerging in the playoffs with a pair of strong performances against the Celtics, which put Boston in a 2-0 series hole despite the first two games being at the TD Garden.
 
However, the point guard broke his right hand in Game 2 and was unable to return, which proved to be a major turning point as Boston went on to win the series in six games.
 
In Allen, the Pelicans add one of the best perimeter defenders in the game. And while he is 35, he doesn’t come with the kind of wear and tear you typically associate with a player his age.
 
That’s because Allen has not ever been a player to log major minutes. This past season in Memphis, Allen averaged a career-high 27.0 minutes per game.
 
Despite playing limited minutes, it still didn’t keep him from being recognized for his defense, which has led to him being named to the NBA’s All-Defensive first or second team, six times (first team in 2012, 2013 and 2015; and second team in 2011, 2016 and 2017).
 
Those veterans will be important, but the key to making this work for New Orleans lies in how well Davis and DeMarcus Cousins mesh.
 
Acquired just before the trade deadline in February, the Pelicans were just 7-10 with Cousins in the lineup and 4-4 when he did not play.
 
However, that came on the fly, which is why there’s optimism in New Orleans that Davis and Cousins will work together even better with a training camp under their belts.
 
Ultimately, the Pelicans have to field a team that can be competitive, if for no other reason than to appease Davis.

While Davis has shown no signs of wanting to play elsewhere, you have to wonder just how much patience will he have with a New Orleans team that has made just one playoff appearance in his five NBA seasons.
 
Of the other 13 lottery picks from his draft, only one (Kendall Marshall) has made fewer playoff appearances.
 
Anything short of a playoff appearance will only lead to more questions about Davis being traded.
 
"I understand it's a business, but if I don't hear anything from Dell [Demps, the Pelicans general manager] or my agent, I don't pay attention to it," Davis told reporters this summer, regarding the rumors about being traded to Boston. "Once I first heard [the rumors], then I heard it again, then I heard it again, I just wanted to make sure. I found out it wasn't [true], and that was the beginning of the summer, so I haven't paid attention to it since."
 
Key free agent/draft/trade additions: Tony Allen (Memphis); Rajon Rondo (Chicago); Ian Clark (Golden State).
 
Key losses: Tyreke Evans (Sacramento); Tim Frazier (Washington); Terrence Jones (Qingdao Doublestar of Chinese Basketball Association); Langston Galloway (Detroit);
 
Rookies of note:
 None.
 
Expectations:
31-51 (fifth in the Southwest Division, 14th in the West).