|The NBA: Where fans happen||05.11.09 at 5:32 pm ET|
The woman behind the basket was wearing a Marcin Gortat jersey. That alone indicated that she was way beyond what one might call as casual fan. As Glen Big Baby Davis was leaving the court a few minutes after his clutcher than clutch career-making jump shot, she yelled at Davis who was well within earshot: “Hey you fat (rhymes with truck). Get off the court.”
I bring this up not to disparage the fans in Orlando who brought a manic level of intensity to Games 3 and 4. It was truly an impressive display and surely the fine people of Boston have yelled that, and worse, at opposing players in the Garden.
A white-hot crowd is part of what makes playoff basketball so much fun, and for the most part the players are professional enough to deal with all manner of invective that is spewed their way.
Davis was a target or their ire all night. Not the only Celtic to be sure (Kendrick Perkins, Eddie House and Rajon Rondo got it just as bad, if not worse), but after Davis expressed his frustration at picking up a cheap foul and had to go to the bench, the fans knew they had a new target.
It got worse after Davis reacted to what seemed like a routine foul by Dwight Howard on a drive to the basket. “I’m an emotional player,” Davis said after the game and with the exception of a handful of players (Ray Allen, Rondo) the Celtics all feed off emotion.
Add all that into the equation and put it into a game when their season was for all intents and purposes coming down to a final possession and Davis’ end-to-end dash doesn’t seem out of character at all.
That a 12-year-old kid standing courtside got shoved out of the way on Davis’ charge was unfortunate, but it was hardly a pre-meditated act of violence by a “raging animal with no regard for fans’ personal safety,” as Ernest Provetti, father of 12-year-old Nicholas put it to the Orlando Sentinel.
Part of the NBA experience is being close enough to see all that emotion up close. That’s why you pay the big bucks for courtside tickets (assuming you’re not a glad-handing CEO with a cell phone attached to your ear). With that, you get the right to say whatever the hell you want, and often without repercussion. But you also shouldn’t be shocked if you’re standing on the tracks when the train comes rumbling through.
Mr. Provetti has asked for an apology and whether Davis gives him one or not is up to him. Know this about Big Baby: Beneath that raging emotion on the court is a guy with a big and kind heart, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he did, if only to diffuse the situation.
But something tells me Davis won’t be getting the same courtesy from the lovely woman in the Gortat jersey, and he’s probably not expecting it either.
|Father demands apology from Big Baby||05.11.09 at 2:42 pm ET|
There are those who will remember Game 4 between the Celtics and Magic as ‘the game won by Big Baby.’ Then there are those who will remember it as ‘the game where Big Baby shoved the kid.’ And that fan’s father is making no mistake of how he is remembering it.
The Orlando Sentinel has reported Ernest Provetti, the father of 12-year-old Nicholas, has sent an e-mail to the NBA demanding an apology from Davis. According to Provetti, Davis shoved his son after hitting the game-winner so hard that his baseball cap fell of his head and he dove into his seat.
In addition to referencing Davis as “raging animal with no regard for fans’ personal safety,’ Provetti told the Sentinel in a telephone interview, “The NBA makes it clear to not cross the sideline. If I cross that line, the NBA will take away my tickets. It’s a double standard.”
Provetti, a former Celtics fan from New Jersey, now lives in Orlando and sits courtside at every Magic game.
|Big shots, big pay off?||05.11.09 at 12:16 pm ET|
James Posey did it last season. Ben Gordon did it in the first round. In Game 4, Glen Davis did it too. All three made their marks on the eve of free agency. Gordon and Davis aren’ t the only ones vying for a contract this summer either. Here is a look at those still in the playoffs who could benefit from a strong postseason performance before they hit the free agent market next month:
ETO: Early Termination Option
PO: Player Option
|Game 4: Final Wrap||05.10.09 at 11:08 pm ET|
The Celtics have a new hero. Glen Davis hit two jumpers in the final 30 seconds, including the game-winner as time expired, to give the Celtics a 95-94 victory over the Magic in Game 4. Davis finished the night with 21 points (9-14 FG). Despite being hampered by five personal fouls, Paul Pierce led all scorers with 27 points. Dwight Howard posted 23 points and 17 rebounds for the Magic. Both teams battled through foul trouble in this game. 52 personal fouls were called, leading to 55 attempted free throws. The Celtics head back to Boston with this series tied 2-2. Game 5 will be played on Tuesday. Check back to Green Street for postgame reaction and analysis.
|Game 4: 5:48 to what?||05.10.09 at 10:31 pm ET|
With a little under nine minutes left to play, Bill Kennedy called Paul Pierce for a foul on an in-bounds play. It was the fifth for the captain and just another obstacle for the Celtics to deal with as they hope to take this series back to Boston tied a two games apiece.
Without Pierce, the Celtics have held off Orlando. Big Baby Davis, in particular has been, well, big, grabbing three very important rebounds. Eddie House checked in for Pierce leaving the Celtics with a small lineup of House, Rajon, Rondo, Ray Allen, Davis and Kendrick Perkins. Orlando, meanwhile, was running Hedo Turkoglu at the point and there are mismatches all over the floor for both sides.
As we come out of the under six-minute timeout Pierce is still on the bench. Expect him back soon.
|Game 4: Third quarter update||05.10.09 at 10:11 pm ET|
With just over four minutes remaining in the quarter, Paul Pierce went to the bench with is fourth foul. It was a tough blow for the Celtics as Pierce is in the midst of his best game of the series with 27 points and they had a 67-58 lead, their largest of the night.
The Celtics weathered the storm for a time but late in the quarter the Magic managed to cut the lead down to just two points after Courtney Lee made a pair of free throws. But the Celtics went on an 8-2 run to take a 79-71 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The last four minutes were not without some minor controversy. Doc Rivers nemesis Bill Kennedy whistled the Celtics for a defensive three-second technical, which turned into a four-point swing after Rashard Lewis made the free throw and Rafer Alston buried a 3-pointer. Rivers called timeout and had a lengthy conversation with Kennedy.
Then, Big Baby Davis took umbrage at Dwight Howard after a foul left him sprawling across the lane. Davis missed both free throws but he was key in helping the Celtics get through the quarter without the captain. Things settled down after that and we’re all set for a defining 12 minutes of the Celtics season. Do they have enough to take this series back to Boston tied at two games apiece, or are the Magic ready to take that proverbial next step?
|Game 4: A strategic shift||05.10.09 at 9:49 pm ET|
The Celtics came out for what might be the most important half of their season intent on putting the game in the hands of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. They have been running high isolation pick and rolls with Pierce at the point and Allen setting the screen.
Pierce, who scored 18 points in the first half, kept it going in the early minutes of the third quarter making a pair of jumpers and getting to the line. Allen, who was held to just four points on four shots also made a couple of pull-up jumpers. It’s a pretty radical shift in strategy but so far it’s paid dividends.