BOSTON - Glen Davis has been on the Boston Celtics long enough to understand what it takes to play championship-caliber basketball. On Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, he didnt see that.
I think we need a lot of things, he said following the Celtics' 90-87 loss. We need a lot of things in order to get to a championship level that we need to play. I dont think we played the way we should have played today.
Davis looked at the productivity of the second unit. Then he took a look at himself. The Celtics had lost just by three points and he believed the bench could have done more to contribute to a win. He wanted to see better execution. He wanted to see greater intensity. He just wanted to see more.
With the season winding down and the Celtics fighting for home court advantage (their loss put them one game behind the Chicago Bulls for first place in the Eastern Conference), Davis is putting the weight on his shoulders to lead the second unit.
I need to take a better initiative myself, he said. Me being one of the leaders on the second group, being the guy that plays the most on the second group, I need to be more of a leader to organize and to make sure that we know what were doing out there and just to make sure we have a collective effort on the defensive side.
Davis recognizes the obstacles the Celtics face, but at this point in the year, he isnt looking for excuses. The learning curve of the new players, the lack of depth because of injuries, the taxing effect of increased minutes -- they all add up to road blocks that must be overcome.
And Davis is determined to help the second unit get past them.
We have to make sure that we know what were running out there, he said. Sometimes I feel like we dont know what were running. We need to go our guys that we go to - like Delonte West, Jeff Green. I think with Von Wafer back, it gives us another scoring opportunity out there. I think we need to get more ball movement. I think we have options with Jeff Green in the post, but at the same time, I think we need more ball movement. And we need to find it somewhere.
While the Celtics bench added 29 points between Davis, Green, and West, Davis is looking for more than just offense. The reserves at several points this season have faltered on defense when their shots havent fallen, and the Celtics cant afford that lapse of focus. The Grizzlies bench scored 38 points.
If we dont do nothing else, we have to play defense. We have to play defense, Davis said of the second unit. I dont care if we dont make a shot in the second team. I dont care if we dont get a layup or anything. We need to play defense. The second team needs to play defense and its my fault. Im the most experienced guy on the second team, and I need to bring that intensity to those guys. Can't look backwards, got to look forward, and Im looking forward to practice tomorrow, making sure that we know what were supposed to do.
Davis plans to review game tape and talk to the second unit on Thursday. They will get help when Wafer, and Jermaine and Shaquille ONeal, return from injuries, but they cant wait around for that to happen. They have to find their rhythm with the players they have now.
Every game means a lot to us right now, Davis said. Were trying to get as many wins as possible to finish out the year strong. We want to achieve one of our goals and thats winning the Eastern Conference and having home-court advantage. Right now, were losing games and were losing time. So weve got to get it together as soon as possible.
While taking a leadership role on the Celtics may be new to Davis, the winning mentality isnt. He has been inspired by his veteran teammates and looks to motivate the second unit the same way the starters have motivated him.
Its new to me, but at the same time, if I want to go to the next level and have my own team one day, Im going to have to start somewhere, he said. Im going to take initiative now and take ownership.
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA