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How Rondo is like Brett Favre 01.26.10 at 9:57 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo has improved this season with a focus on defense, according to Celtics coach Doc Rivers. (AP)

Rajon Rondo has improved this season with a focus on defense, according to Celtics coach Doc Rivers. (AP)

WALTHAM — Celtics coach Doc Rivers wants his supremely talented point guard to get downright defensive.

Rivers has spent the last three years trying to instill in Rajon Rondo the kind of traits Rivers used to gain a reputation as one of the best defensive guards in the NBA in the 1980s.

Right now, Rivers knows the reputation Rondo has around the league. Go at Rondo and make him try to stop you, since defense hasn’t always come naturally for the guard. On Tuesday, following practice, Rivers drew a analogy between Rondo and another pro athlete.

“I think teams try to go at Rondo because of his size and because they want to try and get him to gamble,” Rivers said. “It’s like trying to make Brett Favre try and throw across his body. It’s who you are, and teams know that and try to take advantage of that.”

[Click here to hear Doc Rivers talk about how defense led to Rondo's development into a possible All-Star]

Like Favre on Sunday with an ill-advised cross-body pass that was picked, Rondo’s season came to a bitter end in Game 7 last spring against the Orlando Magic, a game in which some critics felt Rondo hurt the team by constantly gambling for steals instead of playing solid defense on Orlando’s dangerous backcourt. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, NBA, nfl, Packers
Glen Davis: Don’t play if you’re not a competitor at 7:44 pm ET
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WALTHAM  –  The Celtics leave Wednesday morning to begin one of their toughest four-day stretches of the season. On Thursday, they play in Orlando, followed by a road game in Atlanta the next night.

The man who started the spanish numero craze.

The man who started the spanish numero craze.

They return home on Sunday to host Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. All three teams have a combined 91 wins entering Tuesday’s play.

“Huge,” Glen Davis said of the week. “These are big, big, big games. If you’re not a competitor, you don’t need to play in these games. This is a great opportunity for us to keep our win streak alive and also get better with playoff-contending teams. We’re looking forward to the challenge. Every game is big but these games are bigger.”

Speaking of Davis, he said he is on a new path when it comes to his former moniker – ‘Big Baby’

“Big Baby will always be a part of me. But I’m going to put Big Baby on the shelf – for now,” he said.

Asked why Davis, No. 11,  is leaning toward ‘Uno, Uno’ as a new nickname, Davis pointed toward Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco. Davis doesn’t feel the need to formally change his last name, just his handle.

“Every sport has their version of nicknames,” Davis said. “He paved the way. Knock off or not, I’m a different player than Ochocinco. He plays football. I play basketball.”

Davis wouldn’t be the first pro athlete in Boston to follow the Cincinnati receiver’s lead. In 2008, Jonathan Papelbon had ‘Cinco Ocho’ T-shirts made up sporting the reverse of the famous wide receiver, and representing the No. 58 on the back of Papelbon’s uniform.

Read More: Celtics, Glen Davis, NBA,
Scal cleared to play, Marquis begins drills at 4:12 pm ET
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WALTHAM  –  Brian Scalabrine returned to Celtics practice on Tuesday and was cleared to play on the team’s upcoming trip to Orlando and Atlanta. He had missed two games with separated right shoulder, injured on Jan. 6 in Miami.

“Scal practiced today and showed no sign of injury,” coach Doc Rivers announced following practice. “He shot two airballs and I was like, ‘Scal’s back.’ He’s good. He’ll play.”

Rivers said that Marquis Daniels participated in passing drills for the first time since surgery on his left thumb. Rivers is hopeful Daniels could re-join the team the first game back from the All-Star break.

Daniels missed his 22nd straight game on Monday night, before which Rivers indicated there was a “slight chance” the guard/forward could return on Feb. 10 in New Orleans, the final game before the All-Star break.

Read More: Brian Scalabrine, Celtics, Hawks, Magic
Mr. Smith comes back to Boston at 2:24 am ET
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Former Boston College star Craig Smith defends Rajon Rondo during the Celtics' win over the Clippers Monday night. (AP)

Former Boston College star Craig Smith defends Rajon Rondo during the Celtics' win over the Clippers Monday night. (AP)

BOSTON — For all the attention paid to the return of Marcus Camby to town as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, it’s easy to forget another former New England college star who came back on Monday night at TD Garden.

Craig Smith scored 2,349 points in his collegiate career at Boston College (2002-06), placing him second on the school’s career scoring list, trailing only Troy Bell.

In his senior season, he averaged 17.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.8 blocked shots as the Eagles reached the Sweet 16. There, they lost a heartbreaker to Villanova at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. He also attended Worcester Academy for a year as a post-graduate student before college.

When the time arrived to turn pro following his four years at BC, he was regarded as one of the most promising young power forwards in the draft. Yes, he was just 6-7 but he could rebound and proved he had a scorer’s mentality in college. Those factors were enough for the Timberwolves to take him in the second round (36th overall) in the 2006 NBA draft.

After two seasons in Minny, he was dealt this past summer, along with Sebastian Telfair and Mark Madsen to the Clippers in exchange for Quentin Richardson.

On Monday night, Smith scored 13 points in 21 minutes for the Clippers in a 95-89 loss to the Celtics.

“Craig’s been giving us a lot of good work off the bench the last couple of weeks, and you know when we’re scoring down there, we’ve been going to him and he’s been able to deliver for us and we had a good mix,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “Like I said, hey, we had good inside opportunities, we got to the free throw line some, and we didn’t convert on some fast break opportunities and some wide open shots and that was the big difference for us.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Clippers, Craig Smith, NBA
Doc on Davis: ‘He’s not a bad kid’ 01.25.10 at 8:59 pm ET
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Glen Davis (AP)

Glen Davis (AP)

BOSTON — As WEEI.com’s Jessica Camerato reported, Glen Davis is trying to shake the “Big Baby” moniker that Shaquille O’Neal, among others, bestowed upon him at Louisiana State.

Actually, he’s dropping it altogether for “Uno Uno.”

While we wait to see how that goes over, one of the people who often used the “Big Baby” reference — Celtics coach Doc Rivers — believes there’s something more important to note about his biggest power forward off the bench.

“He’s young, that’s the one thing I keep saying about him,” Rivers said. “He has to grow up in front of a lot of people where most people his age don’t. He’s not a bad kid. We just have to give him time. Some you don’t, some you do and he’s one you do.

“The character and the ‘He’s not a bad kid’ part of it is the savior of it all.”

Rivers has shown support for Davis several several times this season. Whether it was the player’s fracas in an SUV the weekend before the season-opener in Cleveland that resulted in a broken thumb or the recent obscenity-laced tirade directed at a fan in Detroit that left Davis $25,000 lighter, Rivers has been there for his player.

Monday, as Davis searched for a new identity to go with his new image and moniker, Rivers was there for him again.

“I think we can all learn from his mistakes,” Rivers said. “I hope we can all learn from our mistakes and I think he can as well. Usually, his mistakes come from emotional [decisions]. Usually, his mistakes are nothing calculated.”

(Listen to Rivers explain his stance on Davis by clicking here.)

Read More: Big Baby, Celtics, Doc Rivers, Glen Davis
Doc: ‘Slight’ chance Daniels returns before break at 7:21 pm ET
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Marquis Daniels (AP)

Marquis Daniels (AP)

BOSTON — Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before Monday’s game that Marquis Daniels could return before the All-Star break.

Monday was the 22nd straight game that Daniels missed following surgery on his left thumb. Initially, the Celtics didn’t anticipate his return until after the All-Star break, but if a checkup goes well on Tuesday, some basketball activities could be in the offing followed by practice, and then, games.

“We’ll find out more [Tuesday] about Marquis,” Rivers said. “We’re hoping first game after the All-Star break.

“There’s a slight chance he may be able to play by the New Orleans game [Feb. 10], which would be a huge benefit for him because he gets one game in before which helps him once we come out of break. We’re out of break on the West Coast, so we want to come out of break playing well.”

Meanwhile, Brian Scalabrine, who missed his second game on Monday with a separated right shoulder, is expected to miss a week.

He also will be re-evaluated on Tuesday.

Read More: Celtics, Marquis Daniels, NBA,
No more ‘Big Baby’ at 7:14 pm ET
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Glen Davis (AP)

Glen Davis (AP)

It took a broken thumb and a $25,000 fine to convince Glen Davis to shed the identity he carried into the NBA.

But now, Davis wants a new nickname. He wants to leave Big Baby behind.

“I’m not a Big Baby anymore,” he said. “ I’m not feeling that anymore. You got that? No more Big Baby.”

So what does he have in mind?

“Call me ‘Uno Uno!’ Yeah, I like that,” he exclaimed after a reporter suggested the moniker. “‘Uno Uno,’ that’s my new name.”

Big Baby represents a past from which Davis wants to move on. It’s a past that includes fighting in a car during the preseason and yelling obscenities at a fan just last week. He appreciates the opportunities he has been given by the Celtics organization and never wants to revert back to the player who had to be granted second – and third – chances.

“Being Big Baby, I just realized throughout my life I’ve been called Big Baby, and throughout my life I’ve been going through different changes. So really, I’m not Big Baby,” he explained. “You know, it’s like I’m in a cocoon and now I’m coming out as a different player and as a different person also. Basically just the fact that the new person is growth, so you want to shed that Big Baby off. You want to be perceived as something else, not the past.”

To Rivers, Davis’ personality has nothing to do with the name he goes by. Regardless of whether or not he is Big Baby or Uno Uno, he is still a young player who is learning his way in the league. Davis asked that fans believe he is not a bad person or a troublemaker, and Rivers echoed his request.

“He’s young, that’s the one thing I keep saying about him,” he said. “He has to grow up in front of a lot of people where most people his age don’t. He’s not a bad kid. We just have to give him time. Some you don’t, some you do and he’s one you do.”

So while Davis figures out who he is and who he is going to become in the NBA, he is turning to his veteran teammates for advice along the way.

“I look up to a lot of these players on this team and Ray Allen gave me some great advice,” he said. “The 26-year-old man has to think for the 36-year-old man. The 36-year-old man has to think for the 46-year-old man. So every decision I make is more than just today.”

Read More: Big Baby, Celtics, Glen Davis, NBA
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