How Davis re-discovered his rhythm


How Davis re-discovered his rhythm

By JessicaCamerato

BOSTON - Glen Davis had enough.

He hung his head and stared at the ground as he searched for answers following Thursdays loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

That night he had followed up a 1-for-5 shooting performance against the Charlotte Bobcats by going 3-for-10 from the field. The Boston Celtics had lost both contests, and Davis had lost his feel for the game.

I dont know. I dont know, he told as he shook his head, searching for an explanation. I just need to get back in my rhythm. I dont have a good rhythm.

Davis admitted he had been rushing his shots and was not taking enough time on the court. The numbers were reflective of his struggle - he had scored just one field goal in four of his previous ten games, compared to his season average of nearly 12 points.

After garnering consideration for Sixth Man of the Year, Davis was slipping.

Things have just started going downward, he said. Ill find it, though. Ill find my rhythm.

Days later, Davis did just that.

On Sunday he exploded off the bench with 16 points against the Miami Heat. He shot 6-for-11 from the field and clinched an 85-82 win by hitting two free throws with 6.3 seconds left.

His strong showing was the result of a commitment he made to himself following the Lakers game.

That game affected me because I didnt really feel like a force, he told following the Celtics win. The last couple of games I havent really been a force and playing the way I was playing at the beginning of the year. I need games like this. I need to be in the mix when its big teams like this.

Celtics head coach Doc Rivers credited their bench (which was primarily Davis and Von Wafer, minus five minutes from Nate Robinson and nine seconds from Avery Bradley) for winning the game in the first first half. He deemed Davis and Wafer terrific, a far cry from the self-criticism Davis had been inflicting on himself.

Mentally, I just went out there and said, Im going to be aggressive, he said. The mental mindset has to be different - you have to understand whats up. Its weird, you cant really explain it. Youve kind of got to manifest it, like, Im going to go out there, get the rebound, Im going to shoot. And do it. No matter what happens, you just do it. And thats what I did. When I got the ball the first time, I just put it up.

This wasnt Davis best offensive performance. He missed five field goals, including a fastbreak dunk attempt that came up short. But he kept at it and even used the failed fastbreak as motivation.

"I can't wait to see it on ESPN Not Top 10," he joked. "That was a classic one. I was laughing. I'm glad it happened because it kind of got me going in the game."

When the buzzer sounded, Davis was the Celtics second-leading scorer. It was his highest point total since January 5 against the San Antonio Spurs, when he dropped 23 as a starter.

Only days after hanging his head in disappointment, Davis stood proudly as a key contributor in this highly touted matchup.

The Lakers game was the last straw for me, he said. This whole second half is going to be a different half.

On Sunday he got an early start to it.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

BOSTON – The final score on the Jumbotron Friday night said the Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns 130-120.
But there was a clear and undeniable sense of loss on the part of the Celtics, even if Friday’s victory was their third in a row and sixth in the past seven games.
The Celtics (47-26) hope to continue on their winning ways tonight against a Miami Heat team currently among a handful fighting for one of the last playoff slots, but are doing so without Dion Waiters (ankle) who has been instrumental in their surge after an 11-30 start to the season.
Beating the Heat (35-37) will require Boston to play better than they did against the Suns, a game Boston won, but in many ways had the feeling of defeat.
Yes, Devin Booker’s career-high 70 points was very much a blow – a huge blow – to the pride of a team that takes tremendous pride in its defense.
But the sense of a loss came in the form of purpose while playing as close to their potential as possible.
The Celtics fell short on both fronts Friday night.
Being just one game behind Cleveland (47-24) for the best record in the East, the Celtics understand getting as many wins as possible is the mindset right now.
But coach Brad Stevens knows that while winning is important, how the team plays is even more valuable.
“Like I’ve said before, I’m surprised at where we are record-wise because we’ve got to play at a higher level for 48 minutes,” Stevens said. “We just don’t do it.”
Is this Stevens’ way of trying to motivate his players after a not-so-great performance?
Or is he seriously concerned that his team isn’t as good as their record?
The Celtics, by their own standards, and to those of us on the outside looking in, know they are a better team than the one we saw on Friday night.
Not having Avery Bradley (sick) certainly hurt Boston’s efforts defensively.
Still, a Friday night’s game wore on, Booker’s confidence only grew and the Celtics’ desire to shut him down or at least slow him down, began to dissipate like an ice cube in hell.
And that’s a problem - a big problem - for a team that has to be connected at both ends of the floor for an extended period of time in order to play at the level their capable of and, most important, give them the best shot at emerging victorious in the postseason.
That’s why Stevens isn’t too caught up in the team’s chances of catching Cleveland, or whether they go into the playoffs riding a fat winning streak.
“I’m not going to get caught up in winning a couple of games in a row and all that stuff,” Stevens said. “I want to get caught up in playing well. We’ve shown ourselves capable of playing well, we have not sustained it throughout a game. And it’s been pretty consistent.”

Blakely: Despite their spot in East, consistency remains a problem for Celtics

Blakely: Despite their spot in East, consistency remains a problem for Celtics

BOSTON –  Devin Booker went on a scoring binge for the ages against the Boston Celtics on Friday night, the likes of which won’t be seen anytime soon at the TD Garden.

The performance was so great, even the most die-hard Green Teamers had to give the 20-year-old props for dropping 70 points – 70 points! – on the Celtics who still wound up winning, 130-120.

And as Booker continued to pour on the points and the Celtics’ double-digit lead remained just that, a double-digit lead, the narrative of what we witnessed was a lot deeper than just some young kid getting hot.

The Suns are trying lose as many games as they can, while throwing youngsters out there like Booker to play major minutes and predictably make their share of mistakes with the goal being to learn from those miscues and get better.

But the true lesson in what went down Friday night had little to do with Booker’s big night or some Celtics being a little salty about it afterwards.

Lost in all of the hoopla surrounding Booker’s big night was the repeated revelation by Celtics head coach Brad Stevens after the game about his team’s play and their record not being on one accord.

“That’s why, like I’ve said before, I’m surprised at where we are record-wise because we’ve got to play at a higher level for 48 minutes,” Stevens said. “We just don’t do it.”

And Booker’s historic night is the latest example to illustrate Stevens’ point.

Not having Avery Bradley (sickness) was a factor, obviously.

But that’s no excuse for the way they allowed Booker to do anything and everything he wanted to on the floor, allowing a really good shooter to gain confidence to the point where there was literally nothing the Celtics could do to cool him off.

The Celtics looked casual for three-plus quarters defensively against the Suns and still managed to win which says more about Phoenix and its desire to lose as much as possible, than Boston’s ability to find success and overcome a player with a hot hand.

It was another case of Boston getting away from what works while settling into what felt good and easy.

Most of the guys Phoenix played on Friday weren’t players you would consider big-time scoring threats, so the Celtics defensively didn’t play with a defensive edge other than the first six minutes of the game.

In that span, Phoenix didn’t make a single shot from the field while Boston bolted out to a 16-3 lead.

From there, the Celtics didn’t play with the same sense of urgency.

Fortunately for them, they were playing a team that didn’t want to win.

That’s not going to be the case in these remaining games, a mixture of playoff-bound clubs, wannabe playoff-bound crews and a few others with rosters full of players fighting to stay in the league who will use these remaining games essentially as an audition for next season.

If Boston plays like this in any of their remaining games, they’ll most likely lose.

And that’s why Brad Stevens continues to harp on this team not being as good as their record.

Because when you’re in the same class record-wise with teams like Golden State, San Antonio, Cleveland and Houston, there’s a certain expectation of consistency you should play with most nights.

The Warriors and Rockets have explosive scorers; the Spurs play elite-level defense most nights and the Cavs have LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

Those factors form the basis of their consistency in terms of winning and overall play.

But the Celtics are very much a wild and unpredictable bunch, able to knock off Cleveland and Golden State, but get blasted by Denver and lose to Philadelphia.

If inconsistent play is a hallmark of this team, their potential for having a great season will be remembered as just that, potential.

Because games like the one they played on Friday against Phoenix on more nights than not, will result in a loss which could put the Celtics very much in the crosshairs for an early playoff exit.