Davis' daughter the key to his maturation

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Davis' daughter the key to his maturation

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- It didn't take long to recognize a transformation in Glen Davis this season.

It started with the charges, as he sacrificed his body and slammed to the floor night after night. Next came the jumpshots, which he began to knock down on a consistent basis. Then there were the interviews where he spoke about leadership, maturity, and accountability.

Davis had come a long way from the player who, just last season, broke his thumb fighting a friend and was fined for shouting an obscenity at a fan.

Big Baby was growing up -- but what changed him? Why now?

As Davis revealed, someone very small has had a huge influence on him.

"The summer was an eye-opening experience for me, just because of losing in the Finals," he told CSNNE.com. "Then also it comes to realization of, 'Hey, I've become a father.' I think that was one of the biggest things that really changed me."

It was this time last year that Davis learned he was going to become a dad. He could see the baby bump and feel the kicks, but he had no idea how much of an impact his little girl would have on him.

While he prepared for the birth of his first child, he continued to focus on basketball.

In June, Davis and the Celtics suffered the agony of a Game Seven loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. Just as his role as a person was about to change in a few months with the birth of his daughter, so was his role as a basketball player.

"I'll never forget," he said, "Michael Finley told me right after dinner after Game Seven, 'Make sure in training camp, you need to establish yourself.' I took that with me through the whole summer -- 'Establish yourself. You need to be a force to be reckoned with.' "

Finley stressed to Davis that the Celtics could run the ball through him in the second unit this season. "You're capable enough to be doing that," the veteran said. Davis let the advice sink in. Then, it clicked.

"I thought about it," Davis recalled. "I was just like, 'I am. I am capable of being a post threat, being a outside shooter, being a really, really big factor on this team.' I felt like I didn't use all my talents to my advantage, so I always remembered that going into the summer."

Davis set out to Las Vegas for an offseason of intense conditioning. He worked out at Joe Abunassar's Impact Basketball and trained at the UFC headquarters, where Davis adopted the "never quit, never tap out" UFC fighter attitude. "That's just my mentality now," he said.

He returned to Boston as the Celtics were welcoming newcomers like Shaquille and Jermaine O'Neal. All the while, Davis was preparing to welcome a new addition of his own.

On September 2, his world changed. Davis was left speechless at the birth of his daughter, Amari.

"We wrote to her, 'Welcome to the world,' and I couldn't even write," he said. "I got so emotional I couldn't even write. It made me realize, 'Wow, something so small can have such a big effect on you.' It changed me, and it's still changing me to this day."

Davis, 24, quickly matured as a father. As he embraced the accountability and responsibility of having a child, he saw the ties between parenthood and the NBA.

"You have to hit that adult level because you have to make adult decisions," he said. "You have to mature, and I think that had a lot to do with my game and basketball . . . You have to be real punctual, real precise with a baby. You have to be reliable. There are so many things that dealing with a baby and being a player in this game have in common."

Davis credits Celtics coach Doc Rivers for making him open to the maturation process. He appreciates that Rivers enforces a sense of professionalism and holds him to his own actions, characteristics he hopes to instill in Amari.

Davis says Rivers has taught him, "If you want it, you've got to go get it." He wants to be a good father the same way he strives to be a good teammate.

"First of all, you have more of an animal instinct," Davis said. "It's like you're defending your cub. It comes to a point where this is your livelihood. You have to feed, and you think about it in that way. Then you think about it in a way like, 'How can I represent my child so when she looks back, she can be real proud of her father?'

"Just the mentality of being accountable, you have to be there. And that's how you have to be for your teammates. My daughter know what she's going to get from me every day. She's going to get love, affection, discipline. It relates to basketball in a lot of ways, and I've used the mentality I have with my daughter to help my basketball game."

Davis' reliability off the Celtics bench has sparked Sixth Man of the Year chatter, and his improved offensive game has been a key to the team's success.

He is averaging over 12 points per game this season (double that of last year), including an average of 15 points and 7 rebounds in the last 10 games alone.

Throughout the entire season, many have questioned if Davis' performance is a result of his expiring contract. He quickly shot down that notion. Davis has had something to prove since he fell to the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft.

"I'm doing it because I believe I can be the player I know I can be," he said. "Man, I'm just blessed and fortunate to be in this situation because of my outlook on life and my heart and what I believe in. God can only give you so much. You have to take and you have to work it. That's like fate versus free will. He gives it to you, and now you have to go out there and work for it. I just want to do my part when it's all said and done."

It is important to Davis to do his part to give his daughter a happy upbringing. He had a challenging childhood growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as his mother struggled with drug-related problems. Davis faced situations that he says, "as a young kid, you shouldn't have to go through."

After years of hardship, Davis is happy to share that his own mother is on a positive track. His face lit up as he tells that his wish for his mother to get clean has come true.

"She's doing good," he smiled. "She's been clean for almost a year, two years now. I'm just proud of her and her struggle also. She's a strong-minded person and she's been doing great. She's been in my daughter's life since she's been born. It might not have came as I wanted it to come at that moment, but it's come."

For every charge Davis takes, loose ball he stumbles out of bounds after, and ice pack he applies to soothe his aching body, there is a greater sense of satisfaction knowing that he is doing it for his daughter.

The littlest person in his life is making the biggest impact of them all.

Follow Jessica Camerato on Twitter at http:www.twitter.comjcameratonba

Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat

Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat

BOSTON -- There was a bomb threat to the Boston Celtics’ team plane to Oklahoma City on Saturday afternoon, but no one was injured.

The incident will be investigated by NBA security which will work in conjunction with the FBI on this matter which was one of several hoaxes called into airports across the country on Saturday.

News of the bomb threat was first known when Celtics forward Jae Crowder posted an Instagram photo showing players departing the plane with the caption, “BOMB THREAT ON US”.

Celtics officials declined to comment on the matter and instead referred all bomb threat-related questions to the league office.

Messages to the league office were not immediately returned.

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

BOSTON – When it comes to winning basketball, keep it moving – the ball that is – has become a staple of the Celtics this season. 
 
And lately they’ve had to do it without Isaiah Thomas, the team’s leading scorer at 26 points per game as well as their top assists guy (6.2) who will miss hish third game in a row Sunday in Oklahoma City because of a right groin injury.
 
The Celtics have split their first two games without Thomas, with the most recent being a 101-94 home loss to Toronto on Friday.
 
When it comes to this team and ball movement, fans are just as divided when it pertains to whether the Celtics move the ball better without the high-scoring Thomas in the lineup. 
 
Regardless of what fans think they know about this team and how they move the ball, the numbers paint a very clear picture that this team’s ball movement is among the best in the NBA, with or without Thomas in the lineup. 

And that will be important on Sunday against an Oklahoma City team that doesn’t rely on the ball swinging from one side of the floor to the other, nearly as much as the Celtics. 
 
The Thunder, led by MVP candidate Russell Westbrook, are dead-last in the NBA when it comes to passes made per game (267.1). 
 
Meanwhile, the Celtics are at the opposite end of the passing game spectrum, averaging 331.7 passes per game, which is second in the NBA (Philadelphia, 354.3).
 
And in the two games without Thomas, Boston has averaged 347.0 passes per game, which ranks second in the NBA in that period of time. 
 
In addition to missing his points and assists, the Celtics must also find ways to make plays in filling the void left by a player who has the ball in his hands a lot of the time. 
 
Thomas’ usage percentage (percentage of plays used by a player while he’s on the floor) of 32.9 percent ranks seventh in the NBA, ahead of notable stars such as San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (30.9 percent), Portland’s Damian Lillard (30.8 percent), New York’s Carmelo Anthony (29.5 percent), as well as Cleveland’s LeBron James (29 percent) and Golden State’s back-to-back NBA MVP Stephen Curry (28.2 percent).
 
So, considering how involved Thomas has been in the team’s offense, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the numbers in terms of passing and ball movement are better without him than they are when he’s on the floor playing. 
 
What should be surprising is that the gap statistically without him, isn’t greater. 
 
Boston has been a top five team when it comes to assists this season, currently third in the league with 24.7 assists per game. In the past two games without Thomas, the Celtics’ assists numbers have risen to 26.5 per game, but that only ranks fifth in the league in that span.
 
When it comes to potential assists and secondary assists (a.k.a. the “hockey” assist), Boston’s numbers have improved slightly without Thomas as well, but in each category Boston is ranked second in the league. 
 
And that ranking is with, and without Thomas in the lineup. 
 
While it’s not clear if Thomas knows just how close the numbers in terms of ball movement are with and without him playing, he is acutely aware that there are some who believe they are a better team in terms of keeping the ball moving without him.
 
“I can’t control that,” Thomas told reporters on Friday. “At this point, I laugh about it. I know what I mean to my teammates. I know what I mean to this organization, to Brad Stevens.”