Davis searches to find his role on Celtics

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Davis searches to find his role on Celtics

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

For the first time in years, Big Baby doesn't feel that big anymore.

That's because he isn't, at least not in the Celtics locker room.

After playing undersized down low, Glen Davis will have to find a new role with the additions of Jermaine and Shaquille O'Neal.

"I'm one of the shortest players on the team. Its weird," the 6-foot-9 Davis said. "I've got to find my role and find out what I have to do."

And so begins his journey of determining where he fits in on the Celtics.

This situation is familiar to Davis. During the 2008-09 season, he stepped in at the power-forward position after Kevin Garnett was sidelined. He started every playoff game and made his mark during the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Orlando Magic.

Last season had to readjust his game when Garnett returned from injury. He moved back to the bench, where he was one of the biggest players on a second unit that lacked size. Davis shifted to the low block while Rasheed Wallace played more on the perimeter. He averaged 5.6 rebounds per game during the NBA Finals.

This time around, the Celtics have true centers in the O'Neals, once again changing Davis' role.

"I go from popping, hitting big shots, to rolling to the basket a lot last season," he said. "That's what I needed to do for the team and that's what I did. Now this year, we got fives. So I've just got to know what my role is again this year."

Davis says he will go through some "ups and downs" with Doc Rivers during the process. Rivers says there should be little question of Davis' role.

"Let me put it like this, if Baby doesn't know his role by now, he's going to be sitting down a lot," Rivers said. "I'll just leave it that simple."

But it's not that simple for Davis, especially in a contract year. He tries to focus on basketball, not his personal circumstances, and emphasizes the importance of putting the Celtics first.

"The role I would prefer to play is the role that they want me to play," he said. "If I've got to pop, I'll pop. If I've got to roll, I'll roll. Whatever I've got to do, I'm going to do it. That's what it's all about - sacrificing yourself, sacrificing who you are for the greater good of the team."

His role may change this season, but his outlook has stayed the same.

"I'm just here to help the team whatever possible way I can," he said. "Then when I find my role, I'm just going to do it to the max ability that I can."

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcamerato

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

BOSTON – When you look at Avery Bradley’s growth this season, seeing the tremendous strides he has made offensively is clear.

But at the heart of Bradley’s game remains a desire to dominate a matchup as a defender, something that was alive and well on Monday as he made his return to the floor after missing the four previous games with an Achilles strain.

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Bradley’s defense would prove instrumental in Boston’s 108-98 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

He was 2-for-9 from the field and played nearly 33 minutes against Hornets which is just a couple minutes under his season average of court time.

Usually he’s responsible for providing a boost at both ends of the floor.

But considering his long lay-off, it was clear early on that he was locked in defensively more so than looking to get back on track shooting the ball.

“You take any type of games off in this league, your rhythm and all that you gotta get it back,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.

Even though his shots weren’t falling, Bradley was on top of his game defensively while guarding 6-foot-8 Nicolas Batum who is six inches taller but never was a factor on Monday.

Batum finished with eight points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens liked what he got out of Bradley in his return to action.

“I thought he (Bradley) was great,” Stevens told CSNNE.com. “He did everything we needed him to do. We knew there would be a little bit of rust (shooting the ball), but that’s part of you playing your way back into it.”

As far as Bradley’s stifling defense on Batum, Stevens said, “You have to do that against Batum. I thought Avery did a really good job of that. It’s a hard matchup no matter what way you go. Batum, giving up inches to him. He (Bradley) was there on the catch all night.”

And as Bradley gradually gets back into a flow, he’ll regain the form offensively that made him one of the NBA’s better two-way players this season.