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They call him ‘Big Cuddly’ 04.20.09 at 12:14 am ET
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Music can be used to get players in “the zone.” Rasheed Wallace blares hip hop music through the Detroit Pistons locker room. Tony Allen shows off his rap skills before every Celtics game. And then there’s Glen Davis.

On any given night, Big Baby can be seen sauntering down the halls of the TD BankNorth Garden singing Jason Mraz or offering his own rendition of Celine Dion in the Celtics locker room. Davis has an explanation for his unexpected song choice.

“I’m an emotional player and when I’m mad or I’m thinking mad, I’m not thinking at all,” Davis said. “But when I’m smooth and I understand what’s going on, the rhythm of the game, I’m having fun, that’s the way I am.”

Davis’ postseason playlist keeps him “smooth” in high pressure situations. He lists “Bubbly” by Colbie Caillat along with “Beat It” and “Billy Jean” by Michael Jackson as his playoff favorites.

So what do his teammates say when he blurts out the latest pop hits?

“Nothing, they already know,” he said. “They call me ‘Big Cuddly’ because I look like a big cuddly bear.”

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Big Baby to Ticket Stub 04.17.09 at 1:34 pm ET
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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.

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Magic a problem without KG 03.08.09 at 4:37 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics have made winning without Kevin Garnett look easy. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers? Not a problem. Shaq and the Phoenix Suns? No sweat. Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets? Blowout. But then there is Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. That’s where the Celtics run into trouble.

The Celtics were 8-2 this season without Garnett (knee) heading into Sunday’s game. Last year they went 9-2 without him. The Cs have hardly missed a beat, except when playing the Magic. In spite of their success, they are 0-2 against the Magic without Garnett.

“They’re a tough team with or without KG,” Dwight Howard said after the Magic’s 86-79 win. (RECAP HERE) “So I think the biggest thing is just trying to match their play on both ends and be physical with them like they’re going to be physical with us. Also knowing that KG is one of their big guys on the defensive end, just go at them and just make them pay.”

The Celtics first loss to the Magic without Garnett (96-93) came on January 27, 2008. Unable to stop the Magic’s big men, Howard posted 18 points and 16 rebounds while Rashard Lewis scored 15 points. On Sunday, Howard posted 18 points and 15 rebounds with Lewis adding 15 points.

“[Garnett's] a good player and he plays hard,” said Hedo Turkoglu. “We just try to take advantage of it. Tonight we just tried to move the ball and make a lot of free throws and make the big men play. Rashard and Dwight took care of the mismatches.”

It isn’t just the absence of Garnett’s 16 points and nearly nine boards a game that helps the Magic. The void of his intensity and energy cannot be denied.

“He’s pretty much their heart and soul of the team,” Tony Battie said. “You can’t forget about (Kendrick) Perkins and Big Baby and (Leon) Powe. They do a great job of filling in for him but it’s hard to replace an All-Star in this league. Not only that, but just his presence and leadership on the court, it’s hard to make up for it. Physically those guys can fill the void but his presence is something they probably miss.”

Both teams were missing pieces on Sunday. The Celtics were also without Rajon Rondo (ankle), Tony Allen (thumb), and Brian Scalabrine (concussion). Glen Davis left the game with a sprained right ankle. The Magic were without Jameer Nelson (shoulder), who also missed last season’s win.

Regardless of their 2-0 record, the Magic still give the Celtics credit.

“All five guys, whoever steps on the floor, they’re all dangerous,” said Howard. “Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, those guys can light it up. Their bigs are getting better every day. Kendrick did a Kareem shake tonight. It shocked me, but that just shows me that those guys have really been working on their game and they’ve gotten a lot better.”

The Magic’s win brings them within two games of the Celtics for second place in the Eastern Conference. The teams will meet again on March 25 in Orlando.

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Celtics-Cavs Game Blog: Second Quarter 03.06.09 at 8:39 pm ET
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At the start of the second quarter … Celtics 21, Cavaliers 19

- The Garden kicked off the second quarter with a trivia contest for playoff tickets, hosted by Greg Dickerson. The contest pitted a Celtics and Cavs fan against one another. Despite being spoon-fed the correct answers, the Celtics fans still got the first question wrong. Needless to say he was booed.

- On the court: Celtics – Powe/Moore/Marbury/Pierce/House … Cavs – Gibson/Williams/Szczerbiak/Hickson/Smith

- It’ll be interesting to see how the Celtics bigs handle Joe Smith and J.J. Hickson. Smith has a mid-range jumper that can pull defenders out of the paint. The rookie Hickson was working on turn-around bank shots before the game.

- Mikki Moore had his first crowd-rousing moment at the Garden when he dunked through a handful of Cavs off of a Marbury pass.

- At the timeout: Celtics Karaoke courtesy of Big Baby, Ray Allen, and Leon Powe. Davis busted out into a solo performance that sounded like Simon Cowell’s worst nightmare.

- Rondo was welcomed back into the game with a standing ovation. The Cavs have most of their starters back in the game looking for an offensive spark. So far they have come up cold in the second quarter. The Celtics have all five starters in the game.

- LeBron’s posing after every shot like it’s a game winner. He’s shooting 2-for-7.

- Mo Williams has the Cavs back in this game with eight quick points. At the half … Cetlics 45, Cavs 43

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Powe making a comeback 02.12.09 at 12:03 am ET
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It’s not often that an NBA power forward can be compared to a Major League pitcher, but in this case,  Celtics head coach Doc Rivers thought it was fitting. For two seasons, Leon Powe was a relative unknown in the league. A breakout performance in last year’s NBA Finals changed that. Since then, opponents have been paying more attention when scouting the low post player.

With that comes struggles, said Rivers, who has not been overly concerned by Powe’s inconsistency in his third NBA season. The better an opponent knows a player, the more effective they can be in slowing him down. After a cold streak during January in which he went scoreless in three consecutive games, Powe is finding his place again on the court.

“I told myself to be aggressive,” he said. “Sometimes in the past, I wasn’t that aggressive when I got it because I missed a couple shots. So then I stopped being aggressive and became a little passive. Then, the coaches told me the other day, ‘If you’re going to go out there on the floor, just go out there and play and be aggressive.’”

Powe did just that on Wednesday night against the New Orleans Hornets. With Ray Allen sidelined in the first half by a hyperextended thumb, the Celtics needed the bench to step up. Powe offered a fourth quarter surge, scoring seven of his 11 points in just under eight minutes. His hustle at the basket (5-for-6 from the line) helped the Celtics defeat the Hornets, 89-77 (RECAP HERE).

In the first six games of February, Powe is averaging 19.3 minutes, 8.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and shooting 62.1 percent from the field. It’s an improvement after averaging 14.6 minutes, 4.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 38.3 percent from the field in 15 games last month.

“I just wasn’t making my hook shots,” Powe said. “My hook’s been off a little bit from game to game. But I work on it every day and that’s one thing I had to get better. I think that’s why coach said they’ve probably been scouting me harder. But my hook’s been off.”

The Celtics, though, cannot afford for anyone’s shot to be off. In a tight race for homecourt advantage where every game counts, Powe has been watching from the bench while Glen Davis has been getting the minutes. But he doesn’t compare his playing time to Big Baby’s. His best motivation is his next opportunity.

“I’ve just been doing the same exact thing, just trying to work on my game and get my game better,” Powe said. “[I'm working on] stuff on the block, one-on-one on the post moves, and just trying to keep my game in tact while I’m sitting down. Sometimes I get the minutes, sometimes I don’t, and I’ve got to make sure my stuff is sharp.”

Just because he is scouted doesn’t mean he can be stopped.

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Davis jumps into new role 02.03.09 at 11:28 pm ET
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While Ray Allen was the hero of the Boston Celtics dramatic win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, the Cs would not have been in striking distance if it weren’t for one player stepping up in Kevin Garnett’s absence. For the second straight game, Glen Davis has thrived in his role as the Celtics starting power forward.

(ESPN.com)

Davis shot 6-for-11 against the 76ers (ESPN.com)

Davis posted 12 points (6-11 FG) and 11 rebounds against the 76ers (RECAP HERE). Of his six field goals, only one came in the paint. On Sunday, he added 12 points (5-12 FG) and six rebounds against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Davis isn’t just attacking the hoop like a traditional big man. Big Baby is getting the job done with his jumper.

“I think it’s going to help my game tremendously,” Davis said recently. “If I can spread the floor for my team …  I can move up to the four, pick and roll to help out with Paul (Pierce), and hit the jumper. I kind of just train myself to be ready to hit that big shot.”

His preparation paid off when he hit knocked down a 17-footer with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter. The basket brought the Celtics back within three and sparked an 8-to-4 run to close out the game.

This season Davis has developed a knack for mid-range jumpers. Even though the majority of his baskets have come at the rim – his biggest responsibility is attacking the glass – he has been in the zone away from the paint. He entered Tuesday’s game shooting nearly 50% from just inside the arc and almost 40% from the top of the key. Davis has made it a point to fit his jumpshots into his training regimen.

(NBA.com)

(NBA.com)

“It doesn’t take that long [in practice],” he said. “I might go 30 minutes hard, just jumper, jumper, jumper, jumper, and get mine in for the day. I just try to do it every day.”

Davis’ shot has been a work in progress over the years, according to his childhood friend, Dallas Mavericks forward Brandon Bass. The two also played college basketball together at LSU. Bass has seen Davis transform from a banger to a finesse player. It’s a move that was necessary for the 6-foot-9 forward to adapt as an undersized big man in the NBA.

“He never had a bad jumpshot,” Bass said. “He always could shoot it, but he wasn’t necessarily a jumpshooter. He was more of a guy you could throw it to on the block and he could get you a bucket, or he’d eat the glass up and get an offensive rebound. When I left [LSU in 2005] he developed a jumpshot a little more.”

Garnett (flu) is expected to return for Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. While Davis won’t get as many looks off the bench, this extra playing time has helped his confidence with his shot. The skills are there; now it’s just a matter of showcasing them when given the opportunity.

“I feel like I always had the talent to do a lot of things,” Davis said. “It’s just all about working on them and doing them. But I always in college had flashes of myself taking the ball up the court, playing at a smaller position than the power forward and the center. So I know I can do it. It’s just about going out there and doing it and having confidence and working on it consistently.”

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Celtics-Nets Game Blog: Second Quarter 01.14.09 at 8:14 pm ET
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FIRST HALF NUMBERS: Celtics lead 51-41 at halftime thanks to 52.6% shooting from the field. KG leads all players with 14 points (6/8 FG) and Ray Allen has 10. The Celtics have also attempted 12 treys (4/12 3PG) compared to the Nets four (1/4). They slowed down Devin Harris in the second quarter (5 points) and limited his passing to just two assists.

Second Quarter Notes

- The second quarter gets underway with Ray AllenPaul Pierce … Big Baby smiling from ear-to-ear after draining a three from way past the arc. That was Davis’ first trey of his NBA career.

- Pierce is in with the second unit (Davis/Powe/House/Pruitt). Vince Carter, who threw himself on to the Nets bench earlier in the game, is on the court. He’s a little hobbled but still aggressive at the hoop.

- Kudos to Big Baby for his effort on the boards. He may not be grabbing every missed shot but he is in the mix each time the ball goes up.

- Back by popular demand (allegedly), Celtics Slow Dance 3. It’s another slo-mo video montage of memorable dance moves from the Garden set to LoneStar’s “Amazed.” I’ll give the prize to my personal favorite, Soulja Boy Junior.

- Brook Lopez is back in with Davis and Powe as the Celtics big men. Doc Rivers, who has been watching Lopez since high school, said the key to guarding him is keeping him off the glass rather than trying to get your own rebounds.

- No look pass from KG to Big Baby for a three-point play. I hope the fans sitting courtside were looking when Davis jumped into them chasing a loose ball. Davis has four fouls in 12 minutes, not including barrelling over spectators.

- Who said Rondo didn’t have a jumper? He drained a 20-footer as the shot clock expired. If only he could do that every night …

- KG ended the second quarter with huge “think about this at halftime” dunk.

- At the half … Celtics 51, Nets 41

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