|04.17.09 at 1:34 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Glen Davis has just struck nickname gold.
On Friday, he was asked if he was ready to help assume the huge shoes of Kevin Garnett, who is out with a sore right knee.
“I thrive at situations like that, being the underdog,” Davis began. “No, I’m not KG, I’m not at all. I’m Big Baby from LSU, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I’m not the Big Ticket, I’m the Ticket Stub.”
And he was far from done there.
“Don’t count the Ticket Stub out,” he added. “You might need the ticket to get into the game but you leave with the ticket stub because you’ll never forget this game. You’ll need it as a souvenir.”
Nicknames won’t beat the Chicago Bulls. Good defense will. And Davis, the likely starting replacement for Garnett, said he’s more than ready to accept the challenge of helping to contain the Bulls, especially in the paint, where Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Friday the series will be won.
“I am ready, I am excited, I am ready to embrace this opportunity,” Davis said. “You don’t get opportunities like this. This does not come. A second-year guy coming off the bench. Last year, coming off the bench, getting an opportunity to start and be a player in the playoffs, having a chance to go to The Finals and the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s unbelievable.”
Maybe it’s time to believe in Big Baby. The Celtics do.
|04.17.09 at 1:19 pm ET|
Even if he isn’t on the court, Kevin Garnett is still supporting the Boston Celtics in the postseason. Garnett has made it his personal mission to unite Celtics fans by making sure every seat in the TD BankNorth Garden is covered with a green “Boston is a Brotherhood” t-shirt for Game 1 of the Boston Celtics-Chicago Bulls series. Watch the video here.
|04.17.09 at 11:35 am ET|
WALTHAM – There has been no update so far today on the condition of Danny Ainge, who was reported to be resting comfortably after suffering a mild heart attack on Thursday morning. Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said the team had not heard anything new from his family on Friday.
WCVB-TV first reported that Ainge had 100 percent blockage in an artery, which was treated with the insertion of a stent at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Jeff Goodman of WEEI.com and Foxsports.com confirmed the report through Ainge’s son Austin that the Celtics’ Vice President of Basketball Operations suffered a heart attack and is resting comfortably after being taken to the hospital early Thursday morning.
The team issued this statement on Ainge’s condition on Thursday evening: “Danny Ainge is recovering at Massachusetts General Hospital after having a minor heart attack. He is recovering nicely. Mr. Ainge is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days.”
Meanwhile, the team began practice at 11 this morning in Waltham in a final preparation for Game 1 of their series with Chicago on Saturday afternoon at 12:30 at TD Banknorth Garden.
|04.17.09 at 10:13 am ET|
Here’s the quote from Miller:
“Boston is a team that people have in the conference finals. It’s probably easier to go through Orlando than to try and match up with Boston, with Boston coming in with a lot of energy and trying to get through the first round as fast as they can.”
“I agree with ‘Dre. Orlando’s a great team, but we definitely want to play them. Boston is fresh off a championship. That’s the worst thing you can do is go play a team that just won a championship. They’re going to want to get back and be hungry.”
It’s surprising to see such candor, especially from a team that will be a decided underdog against the Magic, but if there’s a lesson to be had there it’s that the rest of the NBA still has great respect for the Celtics.
|04.16.09 at 6:23 pm ET|
Austin Ainge, the son of Boston Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge, has confirmed to WEEI.com’s Jeff Goodman that his father did suffer a heart attack early Thursday morning and was taken to the hospital. Austin Ainge says that his father is expected to be released from the hospital in the next couple of days. WCVB was the first to report this story, stating Ainge woke up Thursday morning with chest pains and taken to a hospital, where it was discovered that he had an artery which was 100 percent clogged, forcing a stent to be inserted. Ainge was originally scheduled to appear on WEEI’s The Big Show Thursday afternoon, but was not available due to sickness.
|04.16.09 at 4:37 pm ET|
But to quote the man himself, “Anything is Possible!!!”
Paul Pierce has been prepping himself for this possibility all along, or at least since Garnett went down for a second time in mid-March with the right knee injury.
“Last 10 to 12 games, if Kevin comes back or if he doesn’t, we have to be mentally prepared for it,” Pierce said. “That’s the way I approached these games coming down to (the end) of the season.”
As a matter of fact, the Celtics finished 16-7 this season in the 23 games without their emotional leader. They even won 10 of 11 without him after losing to Orlando to capture the No. 2 seed in the East.
“You feel bad for a guy who wants to be out there, wants to help his teammates in the playoffs. I know it’s hurting him more than it’s hurting us,” Pierce said.
Pierce believes the team, with shooters like himself, Ray Allen and Eddie House and inside players like Kendrick Perkins, Leon Powe and Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis are more than capable of picking up enough slack.
“Now the guys know he’s probably not going to play, we have to move forward with what we got,” Pierce said. “Guys have to be ready to step up. That’s about it. We’ve been playing without him for quite a while so we know we’re still a pretty good team and capable of winning a championship.”
As for those who doubt the Celtics have any chance at all of even reaching the NBA Finals to defend their title, Pierce hardly sounded like a man whose feelings have been hurt.
“There’s always going to be doubters,” Pierce said. “That’s something we don’t really worry about. We know what we have in this room and we know what we do when we play well and that’s all that really matters right now. It’s going to be an uphill battle of course not having Kevin but that’s how we like it.”
|04.16.09 at 3:20 pm ET|
But let’s take a deep breath and try to figure out what not having Kevin Garnett means for the Celtics. With him (as ESPN’s John Hollinger points out), the Celtics were 44-11 and a +9.5 in scoring differential, making them one of the best teams in the league. Without him, they are 21-9 and +4.0, making them one of the better teams in the league, but not one of the elite.
Without Garnett, the Celtics have been getting by with a combination of Big Baby Davis and Mikki Moore. While Baby and Moore are decent jump-shooting big men, what was missing was a low-post presence on offense.
Enter Leon Powe, whose per-minute averages in scoring and rebounding are about equal to Garnett’s contributions. Powe’s concern, like that of Moore and Kendrick Perkins, is staying out of foul trouble and on the floor to make those numbers translate into per game averages.
What’s really missing, though, is the captain of the defense and there’s simply no way for the current Celtics to make up for Garnett on that end of the floor.
Before Doc Rivers declared KG essentially out for the playoffs, conventional wisdom had the Celtics reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. Without KG, but with homecourt in the first two rounds, the Celtics are still in decent position to reach that plateau, and a whole lot of things can happen between now and then.
There’s no question the Celtics chances of repeating took a significant hit, but over? Nothing is over until… well, you know.