|Glen Davis: Magic ‘capable of beating’ Celtics in playoffs||04.19.12 at 2:26 am ET|
Since being traded from the Celtics to the Magic prior to the season, Glen Davis is now 0-3 against his former team. Yet, Big Baby believes his new squad is fully prepared to defeat the C’s should they meet in the playoffs — even without the injured Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu.
“I think we’re capable of beating them,” said Davis, who totaled 27 points in the Magic’s 102-98 loss in Boston.
If the playoffs started today, the Celtics (37-26) — who clinched a fifth straight Atlantic Division title and the Eastern Conference’s fourth seed — would face the Hawks (37-25) in the first round, but the Magic (36-26) still have a shot at the fifth seed and a date with the C’s. However, Orlando may have to do it without Howard (herniated disc) or Turkoglu (fractured face), both of whom remain doubtful until the playoffs and questionable beyond.
Which is why those in the Magic locker room viewed their four-point loss in Boston as a positive, even if the Celtics were also without two stars in Rajon Rondo (back) and Ray Allen (Allen) as well as a key role player in Mickael Pietrus (knee) — all of whom are expected back for the playoffs.
“Today, we didn’t even have two of our guys,” said Davis. “They didn’t have two of their guys, but at the same time we had a big missing piece today, and we still came out there and played the right way and was in the game. So, whatever happens, happens. Whoever we play, Indiana or Boston, we are going to bring energy, and we are going to play hard, and that’s all that matters.”
Magic teammate Ryan Anderson agreed with Big Baby’s assessment that the Magic could defeat the Celtics in a seven-game series. “Yeah,” he said. “I think it’s a good sign that we played them hard, and we played them like this without Dwight and without Turk. We played hard. We have a lot of things we can learn from this game.
“The defense in the fourth quarter was great, and we know if we can play like that, especially in the playoffs when you have that extra energy and momentum and everything,” added Anderson. “It’s a different game, so if we can have that kind of defensive effort, I think it’s going to be good.”
From the Celtics perspective, they defeated the Magic without three of their top eight rotation players, thanks in large part to Paul Pierce (29 points, career-high 14 assists), who scored seven of his team’s final 10 points, including his trademark pull-up jump shot with 7.6 seconds remaining that gave the Celtics a four-point cushion.
“He’s capable,” said Davis. “I should’ve known that he was going to go pull up. That’s his tendency at that time. I should’ve crowded him, but at the same time I crowded him, and then he pulled up. So, it was a good shot. I was right on him, so it was a good shot. Kudos to Paul.”
“I thought our defense on him was good,” said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. The one before that was the real tough one. Going left, the runner, fading away, that was a very difficult shot, but he’s a great player. They’ve got two Hall of Famers on the floor, and I visited the Hall of Fame. I don’t know if that evens it up or not. He made some big shots, some really big shots.”
While the Celtics improve to 22-9 after the NBA All-Star break, the Magic drop to 14-13, and just 4-8 in their last 12 games. As confident as Davis, Anderson & Co. sound, these two teams appear headed in opposite directions.
“Boston’s obviously getting their stuff together,” said Anderson. “They’re going to make a big run into the playoffs, and we had a chance to beat them tonight.”
Instead, Pierce and the Celtics ruined Big Baby’s homecoming, again, and he may be all out of chances this season unless the Magic can somehow surpass the Hawks for the No. 5 spot.
“You want to win,” said Davis of his 0-3 record against his former team. “I haven’t won here yet since I’ve left, and that’s what it’s all about — winning. I wanted to win. That’s basically it.”