Davis learning to be a leader for Magic

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Davis learning to be a leader for Magic

ORLANDO No one has ever questioned Glen Davis' desire to be one of the NBA's better players, even when he was a super-sub for the Boston Celtics.

The exodus of Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers left a huge vacuum in the Orlando Magic lineup, a void Davis now has every intention of filling.

It will require him to do something that the 6-foot-8 forward has never been asked or expected to do since coming to the NBA: Be a leader.

So far, so good for Davis who has been named a co-captain of the Magic this season.

"It's a different experience," Davis said. "It's something I'm not used to. It's something I've never encountered, but I love it. It's something I've always wanted. It forces you to see if you can go to the next level, or why players stay the way they are and don't get better. Do you really want to go to the next level?"

The answer to this has always been "yes" for Davis. However, now it appears that his actions are in line with his words.

Both teammates and head coach Jacque Vaughn speak of how Davis has embraced his role as a leader, a role that's strikingly different than the one he had during his four years in Boston.

"He's accepted the role rather nicely," said Vaughn, in his first season as the Magic's head coach. "He's done a good job of being a leader in practice, being a leader on the floor, being held accountable. Those are all the things that go into accepting more responsibility. He's done a good job with it."

Davis' fellow captain Jameer Nelson said the addition of Davis to a leadership position should help him better direct his emotions, which Celtics fans remember can get the better of him.

"Making him a captain helps him channel those emotions in the right direction," Nelson said. "He's very passionate about the game and wants to win. You want somebody fighting with you, that has the characteristics he has."

With the Celtics, Davis was an impact big man off the bench who could score and defend. And when called upon, had the ability to rise to the occasion in big games.

But having all-stars on the roster such as Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo made it difficult for Davis to become the consistent, high-impact talent he believed himself to be.

But as you listen to Davis talk about needing to play with more consistency, finding that happy medium between being true to himself but keeping the team's goals first and foremost, it's clear how playing with the C's has rubbed off on him even in his new role with his new team.

"I welcome the challenge," Davis said. "This is an opportunity to start something fresh and new, something I always wanted to do. I've been part of Celtics where guys like KG were already there . . . this is an opportunity for me to be, 'the guy.' "

And with that comes the responsibility to pass along some of the lessons he learned during his time with the Celtics.

"I'm pretty lucky, getting drafted and going straight to Boston and seeing the way high-level players perform and the way they approach everyday," Davis said. "You kind of put yourself in their shoes, how do they play . . . They went to the next level and became superstars. Hopefully I can use this as a platform to push me to a different level."

Acciari notches first NHL goal in Bruins win over Predators

Acciari notches first NHL goal in Bruins win over Predators

BOSTON – It took until his 43rd game in the NHL to finally score his first goal with the Bruins, but Rhode Island native Noel Acciari said it made him appreciate it all the more when that moment finally did arrived on Tuesday night. The 25-year-old Acciari finished off a Riley Nash feed on a 3-on-1 odd-man rush that gave the Bruins an insurance goal they badly needed in a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators at TD Garden.

Then David Pastrnak hit Acciari with a shaving cream pie to the face during the NESN broadcast as a way to commemorate his teammate’s big scoring moment, and Torey Krug immediately fished the puck out of the net to make certain that Acciari would get it.

So it was the best of both worlds with the team-oriented Acciari, who watched his Bruins win to go right along with his hallmark scoring moment that he’ll remember forever.

“Your first NHL goal is a special feeling and to finally have it, you know, like I said before I couldn’t have done it without the other guys, the other four, five guys on the ice. But it feels good,” said Acciari, who has a goal and four points in 24 games this season in Boston. “It just shows you how special it is. It’s not going to come the first game you play; it could come 10, 20, for me probably over 40, but it still feels the same.”

Clearly it’s more about providing a physical, heavy and aggressive opponent when Acciari suits up for the Black and Gold, and it’s less about providing offensive production that’s really a bonus from the fourth line. The focus on throwing hits, aggravating opponents and playing with extra energy have been a big part of Acciari’s game since his return from Providence, and that is absolutely been by design.

“I think I kind of strayed [from my strengths] when I got back from my injury – I kind of strayed away from the hitting game,” said Acciari. “Just getting in on the fore-check and, you know, just kind of getting back to that down in Providence was huge and kind of get my confidence up down there helped out a lot. So when I got the call up I was ready for anything.”

He’s certainly played like he was ready for anything while posting a goal and two points along with a plus-4 in his first four games back for the Bruins organization. Acciari did all of that while leading everybody in Tuesday night’s game with eight registered hits in the win over Nashville. So the 5-foot-10, 208-pound Acciari gave a pretty good example against the Predators of just what he can do with steady ice time and the trust of his teammates as all of the hockey clubs in the East gear up to finish strong for the playoffs.

Now all Acciari has to do is continue to play consistently, punish opposing players and chip in a little offense from time and time as he carves out a permanent role on Boston’s fourth line, and helps his team win a few along the way. 

Florio on issues NFL may face with Raiders in Las Vegas

Florio on issues NFL may face with Raiders in Las Vegas

Mike Florio joins Quick Slants to discuss the problems of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, and the latest NFL rule changes.