By Jessica Camerato
BOSTON - A note to teams around the NBA - Glen Davis wants you to defend him. In fact, hes a bit peeved when you dont.
Dont get this wrong - Davis wants to help the Boston Celtics win. Its just that hes worked hard to become a reliable shooter, and he doesnt like when it goes unnoticed. In return, he uses it as motivation to get the W for his team.
On Wednesday night the San Antonio Spurs left him open. So he decided to make them pay for it.
Im shocked. Im really shocked, he said following the Celtics 105-103 win. I work on my shot a lot and Ive won games with it. Thats what I do majority of the time. For a team not to play me, thats like an insult. But you know, youve just got to make them pay.
Davis came off a 17-point performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday to make his fourth consecutive start in place of Kevin Garnett (calf). He entered the game averaging 12.2 points, nearly double from last season, and shooting 46.7 percent from the field.
But when he missed his first free-throw and field-goal attempts, he realized the Spurs were not guarding him closely.
They were playing off me, he said. I kind of was shocked and I missed the next two shots. I was like, Oh my gosh, they dont want to check me. They just want to let me shoot. So I just kept shooting. I got kind of a rhythm and I started hitting some good shots.
Davis went 4-for-9 in the first half, including 1-for-4 in the second quarter. He stuck with it, though, and shot 6-for-9 in the second half. He finished the game with a season-high 23 points (10-18 FG, 3-5 FT), one shy of his career-high.
Coach Doc Rivers noticed Davis was able to find his rhythm have making minor adjustments.
What he does at times, number one, the shot gets flat we all know that, Rivers said. The other thing he does, he takes a step or two further than his range. And I thought today you actually saw him stepping into shots instead of fading back. Last couple games hes been a foot behind, in front of the three, or two feet, instead of getting to his little range. He did it with confidence, and that was good.
Finding yourself open on the Celtics isnt necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, it is simply because the player is following teams offensive schemes. Davis ability to cut through screens has left him unattended at times, and he has been taking advantage of that.
Its the motion offense, really, said Ray Allen. Rondo starts it and if everybody makes sharp cuts, then somebodys going to be open because you cant keep putting two guys on the ball and letting them get to the hole. Somebodys got to be open and we just try to stay in great position.
But I think what Glen has found out, even more so now, is that when he uses me more, when he comes off those balls, hes wide open every time because nobody can rotate because youre worried about Shaq underneath the basket or Kevin Garnett under the basket or Paul Pierce, so somebodys going to be open at all times.
In spite of finishing second on the Celtics in scoring against the Spurs, Davis said he could have shot the ball better and been more aggressive on the boards (2 rebounds). He believes that if he had made those extra shots or grabbed more rebounds, the Cs would not have found themselves fighting down to the wire.
Still, he was happy to do whatever the Celtics needed to notch their 27th win of the season over the top-ranked team in the league.
When you think about it, Im just a basketball player, he said. Im not tall, Im not short, Ive got short arms, kind of chubby a little bit. But I play the game. I just play basketball, so thats the plus thing about me. I could play whatever you want me to play.
And thats why he wants his opponents to play him more closely.
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