Big Baby's focus this year: Ubunt-me, not ubuntu

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Big Baby's focus this year: Ubunt-me, not ubuntu

By Jimmy Toscano
CSNNE.com

Doc Rivers and Glen Davis have always had one of those "tough love" relationships.

Davis has made his fair share of mistakes over the first four years of his career and some of them have come at not just the expense of himself, but of the Celtics, too.

Rivers has never been shy to call him out on them. But he always gave him another chance, while acknowledging that Davis is being forced to grow up in front of all of us. It's tough to do.

It also made it easier to forgive Davis when he contributed in the way the Celtics needed him to -- as the sixth man, providing defense, hustle, and energy.

Davis went 0-for-3 in those categories towards the end of the regular season and into the playoffs, deciding to focus more on "Ubunt-me" than Ubuntu.

"To me, I thought it was more in between his ears than his play," Rivers said on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Morning Show on Monday. "I thought the whole contract thing affected his play. I thought he had the wrong focus at times because of that. I think when you stray away from just being a team player and . . . the role that youre given, I think you struggle. I think all players do. And I thought Baby did that."

Rivers attributed Davis' lack of production to the fact that he was trying too hard to fill the stat sheet with numbers, and eventually his pockets with cash, by scoring more.

Except all he was doing was forcing shots, not being physical enough down low, and most importantly not being dependable down the stretch.

"I thought scoring was way too important to him, instead of being who he is," Rivers said. "Babys never going to be a great scorer in our league, but he can score. What Baby has to be is an energy player, a guy who takes charges. When you look at his charge numbers from the first 40 games and then the last 40, theyre cut down, he got very few of them."

Perhaps Davis goes to bed every night and dreams of that game-winning jumper he hit a few years back in the playoffs against Orlando. That year Kevin Garnett went down, and Davis stepped in for him and did a commendable job, starting all 14 games in the playoffs and averaging almost 16 points.

He thought he could cash in off that success going into the offseason as a restricted free agent. But the offers didn't come -- and Davis came back to the C's on a two-year deal with his tail between his legs.

That playoff success didn't come this season, and it's probably due to the fact that he wanted it too badly.

"Weve got to get him back in the right frame of mind," Rivers said. "Babys a good basketball player. He can help us or any other team. But, to me, only if he plays the right way."

But Davis, who Rivers guessed had gained weight during the season, already has his eyes set on any other team that will allow him to "showcase his talents" as a starter. That opportunity is not presently an option on the Celtics, and doesn't look like it will be.

Still, Rivers, as he's done over the past four seasons, would welcome Davis back.

"Yeah, if we can get him for the right price," he said. "I think it would be nice, but we cant overpay."

If Davis doesn't change, he could be the one paying.

Follow Jimmy Toscano on Twitter at http:twitter.comJimmy_Toscano

WATCH: Celtics vs. Rockets

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WATCH: Celtics vs. Rockets

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics play the Rockets in Houston. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Rockets preview: Get ready for 3-point showdown

Celtics-Rockets preview: Get ready for 3-point showdown

Earlier this month the Boston Celtics took a season-high 42 three-pointers in a game which raised a few eyebrows. 

And you know what?

No one would be surprised if the Celtics (12-8) surpassed that total tonight when they face the Houston Rockets who have set the pace when it comes to launching 3-point bombs in the NBA this season with 37.0 attempts per game. 

The Celtics aren’t too far behind, averaging 30.8 three-pointers which ranks fifth in the NBA.

But what makes these two teams so unique is that in addition to taking a lot of 3s, they also rank among the NBA’s leaders when it comes to knocking them down. 

The Rockets (13-7) make an NBA-high 14.0 three-pointers per game while the Celtics are fifth in the league with 11.1 made 3s per game. 

And the key to that stat is that both teams shoot a surprisingly high percentage from 3-point range as well. 

Houston’s 37.8 percent from 3-point range is the fifth-best mark in the NBA while the Celtics shoot 36.0 percent on 3's which ranks 10th in the league. 

So what does all this 3-ball shooting mean? 

It means get your popcorn ready for what should be one of the more exciting, high-scoring games on the Boston Celtics’ schedule this season.

Here are some other key stats to keep tabs on during tonight’s game. 

 

FIRST QUARTER SCORING

There is no team in the NBA better at jumping on you from the outset, then Houston. They lead the NBA in first-quarter scoring with 31.2 points per game while shooting 51.9 percent in the quarter which is also tops in the NBA. But there’s a downside to their first quarter success. Houston’s first quarter defense is pretty bad, ranking 27th in the league in first-quarter points allowed (28.5) while allowing teams to shoot a league-worst 52.3 percent from the field in the game’s first 12 minutes. 

 

FOURTH QUARTER SCORING

As impressive as Houston is to start games, the Boston Celtics are just as dominant offensively in the fourth quarter. Boston averages a league-best 29.1 points per game in the fourth compared to the Rockets whose 24.4 points in the fourth ranks 21st in the NBA. Boston’s strong finish to games is aided by a defense that seems to save its best work for the fourth quarter. Opponents are shooting just 40.6 percent against the Celtics in the fourth which ranks as the third-best fourth quarter defense in the NBA.

 

OFFENSIVE REBOUND PERCENTAGE

Boston’s struggles on the boards are well documented which includes - but is certainly not limited to - offensive rebounding. The Rockets will present a major problem to Boston when it comes to trying to avoid Houston getting second and third-shot opportunities. The Rockets rank fifth in the NBA in second-chance points (15.3) per game while the Celtics’ defense allows 15.2 second-chance points which ranks 27th in the league. And Boston’s offensive rebounding percentage for opponents ranks dead-last in the NBA at .265.

 

BALL MOVEMENT

Both teams rank among the league leaders in assists per game with Boston’s 24.4 assists per game average No. 2 in the NBA and Houston’s 24.3 assists ranks fourth. But more telling is how the Celtics rely more heavily on keeping the ball moving, more so than the Rockets. You see this in Boston averaging 329.2 passes per game which ranks third in the NBA while the Rockets’ 273.5 passes per game average is 29th in the league. Still, Houston’s passing game is to be respected especially when you consider the lofty assists numbers they’ve racked up in addition to them getting 59.2 points created via the assist according to nba.com/stats

 

TURNOVERS

These two are at opposite ends of the basketball world when it comes to turnovers. Boston commits 12.3 per game which is the fourth-fewest committed in the NBA while the Rockets are turning the ball over 16.1 times per game and that ranks 27th in the league. And these two remain widely far apart in the fourth quarter which is when the Celtics turn the ball over a league-low 2.2 times per game in the fourth while Houston turns the ball more than twice as much (4.5) which ranks 29th in the league.