'Big Baby' Provides Big Jolt
Monday, May 11, 2009
ORLANDO, May 10 -- Glen "Big Baby" Davis is getting heavy minutes this postseason for the Boston Celtics primarily because the defending champion has limited options with both Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe sidelined because of knee injuries. His primary role on the floor is generally to use his offensive lineman-like body to set hard screens to free all-stars Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, roll to his spot for the occasional open jumper and do the unrecognized, dirty work.
But on Sunday night in Game 4 of their conference semifinal against Orlando, Davis had the ball in his hands on Boston's two most important possessions of the game -- and possibly the season -- and he knocked down two huge jumpers in the final 36 seconds, including the game-winner as time expired, to give the Celtics a 95-94 win and tie this best-of-seven series at 2. After his last jump shot splashed through the basket, giving him 21 points, Davis shook off his exuberant teammates as they hopped on his shoulders to celebrate, and tracked down his former AAU coach and father figure, Collis Temple, and gave him a hug.
"I got 'em," Davis yelled at Temple. "I got 'em."
Through the first three games of this series, the Celtics and Magic seemed incapable of having a memorable game, which was somewhat surprising considering that the Celtics had come off a tightly contested seven-game series against the Chicago Bulls and the Magic had three games that came down to the final possession in its first-round series against Philadelphia. The Magic led by 25 points before holding on for a five-point win in Game 1. The Celtics rode the hot shooting of Eddie House to a blowout win in Game 2. And on Friday, the Magic used the inspiration of Rafer Altson's suspension to stomp the Celtics by 21.
Last night, the Celtics led by seven points with 7:22 remaining when Rajon Rondo (21 points, 14 rebounds) hit a hook shot, but the Magic held them without a field goal for more than six minutes.
The situation looked more bleak for the Celtics when center Kendrick Perkins was forced to leave the game with 4 minutes 52 seconds remaining after hurting his surgically repaired left shoulder while fighting for a rebound with Magic center Dwight Howard. With Perkins sitting on the bench, the Magic was able to close within 91-90 on back-to-back jumpers by Courtney Lee.
Perkins returned, but the Magic took the lead when Howard (22 points, 17 rebounds) made two free throws to give the Magic a 92-91 lead with 49 seconds remaining. Davis responded with a 15-foot jumper to give the Celtics the lead, before the Magic went ahead 94-93 on two free throws by Rashard Lewis (22 points) with 11.3 seconds remaining.
On the Celtics' final possession, Coach Doc Rivers called a play with Allen and Pierce as option 1 and option 2, respectively. The ball found its way to Rondo, then Pierce, who dribbled down the clock until Howard approached, forcing him to dish the ball to Davis. "When I shot it, I didn't even hesitate," Davis said. "It was a feel."
Pierce, who led all scorers with 27 points, said he had no problem giving the ball to Davis. "He's been tremendous for us, with Kevin being out, with Leon being out. He's grown into a man this series," Pierce said.
Temple said, "He was like that when he was 12, 13, all the way, always came up with big shots. He's always been a real confident young man."
The Magic missed 22 of their 27 three-point attempts in the game, with starting backcourt Alston and J.J. Redick combining to go 1 for 11. The Celtics were just 1 of 10 from long range, but they didn't really need to with all five starters scoring in double figures. Perkins finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Allen had 12.
The Magic managed to slow down Eddie House, who scored 46 points on 17 of 21 shooting the past two games. The Celtics bench produced just two points, but it didn't matter when Davis, a former reserve, stepped up and guaranteed that the Celtics will be around for at least another two games. "He's made big shots. He's one of those guys that makes big shots," Rivers said. "That, and we didn't have anyone else left."