Archive for January, 2012

Big Baby: ‘The only thing I know is that I got paid a little bit more money’

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

There’s one important difference between Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins: Big Baby left on his own terms.

Davis didn’t profess his love for Boston in his postgame press conference the way Perk did. He wanted a change in scenery and an upgraded role, and Orlando offered that opportunity. Or so he thought.

“I’€™m in the same situation I was here — coming off the bench,” said a dejected Davis after losing to his former team, 87-56. “The only thing I know is that I got paid a little bit more money. Like I said, it’€™s a process and a system that I’€™ve got to get used to. I don’€™t know. I know what I’€™m supposed to do, but I don’€™t know yet. I’€™m still searching.”

As they did for fellow members of the 2007-08 NBA championship team Eddie House and Perkins before him, the Celtics gave Big Baby the video montage treatment. When the Garden crowd responded with a standing ovation, Davis flashed his signature smile and acknowledged the fans with a wave before returning to the Magic bench.

“It was good to remember all the memories that you had,” he said. “I looked really big, like really fat. I was like, ‘Wow, chubby.’ I look a little more leander now. But it was good. It’s always good to see things like that, memories I can never forget. The fans showed love, and I appreciate that.”

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Fast Break: Magic pull disappearing act vs. Celtics

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Maybe this is the win this Celtics team needed. It was hard to see this one coming, especially with five Celtics regulars sidelined by injury against a Magic team that won 11 of its first 15 games, but the C’s put together their best stretch of basketball in a 87-56 welcome home victory against Glen Davis & Co. at the Garden on Monday.

Paul Pierce (19 points, 7 assists) once again led the offensive charge, with a little help from friends Kevin Garnett (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Brandon Bass (19 points, 8 rebounds). Meanwhile, starting in place of the injured Rajon Rondo, guard Avery Bradley (3 steals) wreaked havoc on the defensive end to help the C’s (7-9) hold Orlando to 16-of-65 shooting (24.6%) — the best defensive effort of this Big Three era.

Davis scored just six points (2-9 FG) but grabbed 11 rebounds, and Dwight Howard led the Magic’s anemic offensive effort with 18 points (4-15 FG) and 14 boards.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Defending their life: Led by defensive-minded starters Garnett and Bradley, the Celtics put together their best defensive game of the season. They held the Magic to just 11-of-38 shooting (28.9%) before the break, and actually improved upon that in the second half (5-27; 18.5%). The C’s recorded six blocks (shockingly, none by rejection artist Greg Stiemsma) and six steals by halftime, building an early lead — something that escaped them through their 6-9 start.

Familiar foes: Lost in the drama surrounding Big Baby’s return to the Garden was the fact Bass was also facing his former team, as the two former LSU teammates were traded for each other after the lockout. One of few healthy bodies coming off the bench, Bass reached double digits by halftime and gave the C’s a much-needed boost against his old teammates.

Avery Bradley, defensive stopper: The Celtics sophomore guard gave veteran Magic point guard Jameer Nelson problems all night long, picking his pocket twice, forcing a jump ball and altering his shot — all in the third quarter. Given his third consecutive start in Rondo’s absence, this stretch might be just what the Doc ordered in building Bradley’s confidence and expediting his development in what some believed could be a breakout season for the young guard.

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Celtics montage: ‘Thank you Big Baby’ Glen Davis

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Just as they did a week ago for Kendrick Perkins, the Celtics honored Glen “Big Baby” Davis with a tribute video during the first timeout of Monday night’s game against the Magic. A member of the 2007-08 NBA championship team and a key contributor in the 2010 NBA Finals run, Davis was traded along with Von Wafer to Orlando in exchange for Brandon Bass after the lockout.

Considering the Garden was far from filled (Patriots hangover, anyone?), the montage didn’t have quite the emotional impact Perk’s did. Prior to the game, Dwight Howard guessed that his new teammate might shed a tear during the video, but the opposite turned out to be true. Big Baby was all smiles as he waived to the cheering crowd. There were dry eyes pretty much everywhere in the house.

Live Blog: Celtics host Magic as Glen Davis returns to TD Garden

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

The Celtics will renew acquaintances with Glen “Big Baby” Davis on Monday night when they host the Orlando Magic, and WEEI.com will be there to offer you the latest news, analysis and updates from the game. Davis, it is worth noting, is averaging 7.9 points and 5.1 boards a night for the Magic, while Von Wafer (also sent to Orlando in the preseason deal that netted Brandon Bass) is averaging 6.2 points, 1.3 boards and 0.8 assists a night. Bass, meanwhile, is scoring 11.5 points a game while collecting 6.4 rebounds per game.

Celtics vs. Magic Live Blog

Irish Coffee: Top 5 Big Baby Celtics moments

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

For the second time in five games, the Celtics welcome a member of the 2007-08 NBA championship team in an opposing uniform. Kendrick Perkins got a hero’s welcome when the Thunder visited Boston last week, so will Glen Davis get the same treatment when the Magic visit Monday night?

Davis had his share of moments, good and bad, during his four years in a Celtics uniform (remember how he broke his thumb?), culminating in a 32 percent shooting performance in last season’s five-game Eastern Conference semifinals loss to the Heat. In one last contribution to the Celtics, he agreed to a four-year, $26 million sign-and-trade deal after the NBA lockout that shipped him and Von Wafer to Orlando for Brandon Bass.

So far, at least, the Celtics got the best of that deal, as Bass only makes $4 million this season, although Wafer’s production on the Magic makes it closer than one might think. Take a look at their numbers through 15 games.

Bass: 11.5 PTS (48.1 FG%, 72.7 FT%), 6.4 REB, 0.7 BLK, 0.6 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.9 TO

Davis: 7.9 PTS (37.5 FG%, 73.3 FT%), 5.1 REB, 0.7 AST, 0.4 STL, 0.2 BLK, 1.3 TO
Wafer: 6.2 PTS (47.8 FG%, 46.7 3P%, 84.6 FT%), 1.3 REB, 0.8 AST, 0.2 STL, 1.1 TO

Regardless, Davis gave the Celtics more than they could have hoped for when they selected him with the 35th overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft, developing into one of the game’s top three Sixth Man Award contenders last season. If Eddie House got a tribute montage video, why shouldn’t Big Baby?

“We just have to let it play out,” Magic teammate Dwight Howard told the Orlando Sentinel. “He’s emotional. He might cry. We’ll make sure we bring a big pacifier.” It wouldn’t be the first time.

Without further ado, I give you the top five Glen “Big Baby” Davis moments in a Celtics uniform. (more…)

Paul Pierce’s breakout game

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

It would be wrong to say there were signs that Paul Pierce was ready to drop 34 points in a game the Celtics had to have. There have been flashes here and there — a 24-point effort against Oklahoma City, a pair of dunks against the Suns on Friday — but there really hasn’t been any consistent thread to Pierce’s game this season to indicate he was ready to put it all together like he did in the Celtics’100-94 win over the Wizards on Sunday.

Pierce wasn’t in shape when he came from a bruised right heel and he wasn’t in the best shape before the injury. Both things contributed to his slow start, but one season after shooting almost 50 percent from the floor, Pierce’s shooting percentage has tumbled below 39 percent and his turnovers are also higher. (One area where Pierce has remained constant is his passing. His assists are up, which is either a sign that he’s playing his way back into shape or perhaps a signal of yet another late-career adjustment for one of the modern-day masters of the art.)

He started the season slowly, but efficiently, averaging 16.5 points and over six rebounds and four rebounds in his first four games. But as the competition got tougher, Pierce’s flaws were evident. He went 3-for-17 against Indiana and followed that up with a 2-for-5 effort against Dallas and 3-for-12 shooting against Chicago. Then came two high-scoring, but uneven performances against the Pacers and Thunder and then a pair of lackluster outings against the Raptors and Suns.

All things considered, we had yet to see the Paul Pierce that we’ve grown accustomed to watching over the years. He appeared hesitant handling the ball, and like the rest of the Celtics, he’s had major difficulty scoring inside where his percentages at the rim have gone from 70 to 54 percent.

But against the Wizards — and yes, the Wizards are a bad defensive team — Pierce found his groove and all of his trademark moves were on display. He found his sweet spot, going 4-for-4 on elbow jumpers from the left side of the court. He worked the right-hand side for a pair of 3-pointers and another 20-footer. He also got to the free throw line 15 times and made 12 of his shots.

Pierce wasn’t just a scorer. He had 10 assists and helped get Kevin Garnett going in the second half, as well. Garnett made only one of four shots in the first half, but after a pick-and-pop jumper from Pierce he buried three straight attempts and finished with 17 points on 6-for-6 shooting in the second half.

The Wizards who had no one who could guard him. Rookie Chris Singleton drew the first assignment and he has potential as aa wing defender, but he’s also a rookie and Pierce took advantage of him. Rashard Lewis couldn’t keep up and Wizards coach Flip Saunders even tried guard Jordan Crawford on Pierce with predictable results.John Wall also got a turn, and when the Wizards resorted to double-teams, Pierce picked them apart.

It was an example of how much better the Celtics when just one of their Big Three have it going, especially Pierce, because he has the ability to create offense for himself and for others.

Now the question is whether he can do it again. He faces off with one of his old nemesis’ in Orlando’s Hedo Turkoglo on Monday and Pierce will have to be sharp because Rajon Rondo has missed two straight games with a sprained right wrist and Ray Allen left Sunday’s game with an ankle sprain. If either of them can’t play, let alone both, the burden on Pierce will increase.

The Celtics are 6-9 and half of their wins have come against the lowly Wizards. They haven’t proven anything yet, but Pierce’s game on Sunday was the first positive sign they’ve had since he returned.

Fast Break: The Truth sets Celtics free

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

The Celtics have been waiting for Paul Pierce to arrive, and the captain delivered on Sunday afternoon in a 100-94 road win over the Wizards. Pierce scored 34 points to go with seven rebounds and 10 assists and looked like the Pierce of old, as opposed to an old version of Paul Pierce.

While Pierce helped lead the Celtics’ best offensive performance in weeks, the team’s defense was routinely burned in transition by the younger, faster Wizards and a double-digit third quarter lead quickly evaporated. The Celtics were able to hold on down the stretch thanks to Pierce and solid games from Brandon Bass — 13 points and nine rebounds — and Kevin Garnett, who scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half.

They were once again without Rajon Rondo, who missed his second straight game with a sprained right wrist. They also lost Ray Allen to a sprained left ankle early in the second quarter. He went back to the locker room and did not return.

The Celtics had lost six of seven games heading into Sunday and are now 6-8. Half of their wins have come against Washington, but they’ll take them any way they can get them right now. They’re back in action on Monday at the Garden against the Magic as Glen Davis makes his return to Boston.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

– Pierce had his breakout game for the Celtics, doing a little bit of everything. His effect on his teammates was evident by his 10 assists. When the Wizards doubled him off pick and rolls he found Bass for a jumper. He also got Garnett going in the second half with solid pick-and-pop action.

– The Celtics had assists on 13 of 16 makes in the first half and had much better ball movement and spacing than in recent games. That went away in the second half as they relied on Pierce to generate their offense, but it was a positive step.

Mickael Pietrus had to play big minutes after Allen jammed his left ankle and the veteran swingman played well. He knocked down two 3-pointers, but he also went to the post and drew a foul and put the ball on the floor to create a jump shot. Pietrus also committed two bad fouls in the fourth quarter, but he played well in his first game with major minutes.

– Bass also had a solid game, scoring 13 points to go with nine rebounds. He looked much more comfortable in the Celtics’ sets and had a strong finish going through JaVale McGee.

WHAT WENT WRONG

– Allen began the game making three of his first four shots as the Celtics made a concerted effort to get him off screens. But Allen jammed his left ankle early in the second quarter when he ran around a screen set by the Wizards’ Jan Vesely. There was no contact on the play. Allen went back to the locker room and did not return.

E’Twaun Moore has had his moments thus far in his rookie season, but so far that hasn’t translated into production. He’s made only one of his last 15 shots. Marquis Daniels has also struggled and beyond Bass and Pietrus, the Celtics bench has yielded few results.

Avery Bradley remains a work in progress. He took several wild shots and careened into three Wizards on the fast break and got called for a charge. Bradley had six rebounds and seven assists, but he also was 1-for-8 from the floor and 1-for-4 from the free throw line with six turnovers. Wizards guard John Wall had his way with him on the defensive end, scoring 27 points to go with 10 rebounds and seven assists.