Davis makes Spurs pay for leaving him open


Davis makes Spurs pay for leaving him open

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.

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

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

BOSTON -- On more than one occasion Monday night, the Boston Celtics were a discombobulated bunch with some players thinking they were running one play, while others were thinking the play called was something totally different.
You see that stuff in the preseason and to a certain extent in the regular season for a lot of teams. It is in those moments that we’re reminded that this Boston Celtics team is a work in progress on so many levels.
Because of that, we all need to hit the pause button when talking about them as a team inching closer towards Eastern Conference supremacy.
After the first month of the season, they have yet to show that they are going to be better than last season’s 48-win ball club.
The big problem a year ago was the offense bogging down and for the most part, not making shots. This year, it’s the team’s defense that has let them down on many nights.
And with that comes a sobering reminder this crew is good, but at best are maybe top-five in the East.
As a team on the rise, beating teams you’re not supposed to has to happen with some semblance of regularity.
There were only three teams on the Celtics’ docket this season thus far that they should have been beaten by without there being any argument: Golden State, San Antonio and Cleveland.
They were beaten in all three, two of which (Golden State and Cleveland) had final scores that did not indicate the level of dominance they had over the Celtics.
The average margin of defeat in the three games was 9.3 points, but two of them (San Antonio and Golden State) were at the TD Garden, which is supposed to be the equalizer for upset-minded teams.
But in each game, Boston put up a decent fight only to fail to emerge victorious.
The struggles against the upper echelon teams of the NBA has nothing to do with not having a superstar or a great rebounder or any of the kazillion reasons/excuses offered up as to why they’re not better.
It’s hunger.
It’s effort.
It’s about being blinded by the internet clicks that tout them as one of the best teams in the East, and them not seeing the danger that comes with embracing all that patting on the back.
It makes you soft.
It makes you fat and happy.
And maybe most significant, it creates a false sense of arrival before you’ve left the tarmac.
That’s where the Boston Celtics are right now: a team that seems to have forgotten why they were the team nobody wanted to play last year.
It wasn’t that teams feared playing them. It was the fact that they knew playing the Celtics would be tough, and it would force them to play a lot closer to their full potential than they were used to if they wanted to win.
It was because everyone knew that to beat the Celtics, you don’t have a choice but to play hard because you damn well knew they would.
Not anymore.
They bring that toughness to the game in small doses, like an intra-venous drip full of hope and promise, providing just enough to life to keep their fans optimistic but not nearly enough to kill the noise of their haters and critics.
And while the season is still young, the Celtics need to start racking up some quality wins.
Right now, their most impressive win is a toss-up between beating Charlotte 104-98 on Oct. 29, or a 94-92 win at Detroit on Nov. 19.
Boston plays at Orlando on Wednesday, a team that’s likely to be back in the lottery again. But after that, they travel back to Boston where they’ll host Toronto -- a game that they desperately need to not only to pad their win total but also provide a much-needed boost of energy and confidence going forward.

The Celtics have to find that hunger, that collective desire that we’ve seen in the past which has propelled them to greater heights than we’ve seen thus far.
Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford… you can go down the roster and the mission for all of them has to be the same: play harder, for longer, and be smarter about it, because this team has too much collective talent to be just three games above .500.
At 12-9, Boston is third in the East and trail conference-leading Cleveland by three games for the best record in the conference. But then you look at the teams behind the Celtics and realize that they’re only two games out of having the ninth-best record in the East.
It speaks in part to the season still being in its infancy stage. But it’s also telling as to how Boston does not have a huge margin of error when it comes to losing winnable games.
And as we’ve seen thus far, the Celtics can play with any team in the NBA and hold their own.
But beating them is a totally different narrative that this squad has yet to write.