Post-game Reactions

Glen Davis scored 18 points in Game 4 and made one jump shot. By the end of last season, had Glen Davis scored 18 points in a game, you’d have expected about a dozen of those points to come on jumpers. In his second season in the league, Glen Davis became a jump-shooter. About 60 percent of his shot attempts were jumpers, his offensive rebounding dropped from elite to league average for his position and he stopped drawing fouls.

Glen Davis worked tirelessly to become that sort of player—a jump-shooting power forward with range to 20 feet. He took hundreds of jumpers per day, and he kept taking them in games, even as he missed in bunches. And the coaches told him to keep shooting.

This, it seemed, was Big Baby’s destiny in the league. But then the Celtics signed another jump-shooting back-up big and Davis broke his hand on his friend’s head.

It was time to re-invent himself, again.

In 2010, only 42 percent of Big Baby’s shot attempts were jumpers; 55 percent came from in-close, up from 36 percent the year before, according to 82games.com. He took more shots than ever at the rim and cut his long jumpers—those taken from between 16 and 23 feet out—from 2.6 per game to 1.0 per game, according to Hoopdata.

He crashed the offensive glass, again. In 2009, Davis rebounded about 9.4 percent of Boston’s misses while he was on the court, according to Basketball-Reference. That’s about league average for his position.

This season, Davis rebounded 13.7 percent of Boston’s misses while on the court. How good is that? Of players who logged at least 500 minutes this season, only six had a higher offensive rebounding rate, according to Basketball-Reference. (The six, for trivia purposes: Jon Brockman, Greg Oden, DeJuan Blair, Kevin Love, Ben Wallace and Nazy Mohammed). Without Leon Powe, Boston needed an offensive rebounder, so Davis became one.

He drew more fouls and took more foul shots.

Simply put: Big Baby completely re-invented himself as a player for the second consecutive season. That cannot be an easy thing to do. I don’t play professional sports, so I have no idea how hard it is. But in my real job, I’m a Web reporter used to writing two or three stories a day for the blog of a national magazine. If you came to me today and asked me to drop the Web work and move on to writing two 7,000-word magazine features per year, I’m pretty sure there would be  learning curve that would represent a giant professional challenge for me. My first few 7,000-word pieces would not be as good as my next two, and those two would not be as good as the ones that came after.

Baby’s re-invention started poorly, mostly because he could not score around the rim. Davis converted only 51.8 percent of his shots at the rim this season, one of the very worst marks in the league for power forwards. On average, players at Baby’s position hit about 63 percent of shots at the rim, according to Hoopdata. And as you all probably know by now, no player in the league got his shot blocked more often than did Big Baby; opponents rejected about 18 percent of Baby’s shot attempts, which is really pretty astounding when you think about it.

Boston fans were frustrated. There was an actual serious debate here and elsewhere about whether Shelden Williams should see time over Big Baby. I called the debate ridiculous at the time, and it turned out to be one of the few things I called correctly about this season.

And Davis got better, slowly. In mid-February, his shooting percentage on at-the-rim shots was under 49 percent; he finished at nearly 52 percent, so he improved a tick as the season went on. It wasn’t much, but you could see it happening, and you could see a game like tonight’s coming.

It came when Boston needed it most. Their season is alive, thanks in part to Big Baby’s hard work and willingness to adapt his game to the needs of the team. That should be appreciated.

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Zach Lowe

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  • DRJ1

    Excellent point, one I hadn’t thought of before. That Baby has been WORKING ON his inside game, all season. Kinda like KG has been recuperating all season, trying to peak for the playoffs. And like Sheed, who husbanded (virtually all of) his resources, saving it for the playoff (whereupon he swung 180 degrees away from what he used to be… which is a digression, but a very interesting one).

    Baby too has used this whole season to perfect his inside game. And it worked! He’s NOT getting blocked anymore… despite playing against some of the best inside-game defenders in the NBA. Baby GOT IT. He learned how to use his body to make space… and score, and get the and-1s too.

    It seems this WHOLE TEAM, practically, has used the regular season as one long practice session to get ready for the playoffs. Ya gotta love that (especially since we’re now IN the playoffs 🙂

  • @DRJ1: I wouldn’t quite say he’s not getting his shot blocked anymore; he had a Charles Smith-like sequence in Game 3.

  • Jay P

    Honestly, I think Baby’s shot returning is a big reason why he’s able to finish better at the rim now.

    Hear me out:

    When defenders respect Baby’s shot, which they now have to, their not going to let him get the call uncontested at the shoulder. Their going to front him, make him put in on the floor. Davis has shown very capable of using his speed from the shoulder to drive (you see that spin move he put on Odom last night? Good lord) and once he beats the initial defender, it’s more difficult for help to come in time, and he’s able to rise up before the help is in great position to get finishes/fouls.

    When they don’t respect his shot, they lay off, and earlier in the season, Davis has no confidence in spotting up, and would still take it to the rim. This means the defender was already a step ahead of him, able to beat him to a spot, and just go straight up and use their length to stay over him and block shots.

    Their not giving him any day light now, because he’s had the confidence and ability to stroke the 15ft jumper, and this allows him to beat defenders and fight daylight so he can finish easier.

  • NHBluesMan

    not to take anything away from Baby, but it helped having Bynum sitting on the bench. I’m sure Davis still would’ve got his points, and i LOVE the energy he’s bringing! the benches are proving to be the X factor of this series. Doc has 4… yes FOUR guys he trusts to play, whereas Jackson could be down to no productive bench players if Bynum’s injury doesn’t get better and he has to start Odom.

    i like the Perk/Gasol and KG/Odom match-up much better, and with the Celtics running 9 deep with the potential for ANYONE to go off on any given night, we can win this in 6 or 7 games.

    the only thing that scares me are the fact that Perk and Sheed are both one T away from a suspension. If we lose either one of them for a game, we can work around it, but if somehow they both get T’d up in the same game (Sheed, PLEASE just shut up and accept the calls, even if you don’t agree with them!) we could be in trouble (depending on the game).

    If i was a conspiracy theorist, i’d say Celtics win game 5 easily, but Perk gets hit with a bogus T and sits out game 6, allowing the Lakers to win a close one at home, then its winner take all in game 7 with the Big 4 stepping up Big vs. Kobe and Gasol. This will be a match-up for the ages!

  • NHBluesMan

    @ Jay P… it scares me to see how quickly Baby can move some times. A guy his size, and with his feet, if he was even just 6 inches taller, he’d be top 10 big men in the league easily… of course if he was bigger he might not be as quick or have the jumper… regardless, i’m glad we have him

  • TRX

    His offensive rebounding seems misleading though, no? This is the first time I’ve left a comment, I think, but I’ve been reading this blog for a while. Even before the playoffs even though I have no rooting interest in the team. I just like what you guys do.

    That being said, I know you guys have touched on this before, but the fact that he shoots a percentage so far below average at the rim, combined with his propensity to get blocked doesn’t leave me impressed with his offensive rebounding rate. He’s getting blocked, picking it back up and getting blocked again and off we go the other way.

    Statistically, he had his worse season. His WS/48 has dropped every season from .128 to .108 to .084 this season, while his USG% has increased.

    … Still, that being said, I watched the game last night and I was getting excited the way he was playing. He didn’t get blocked once and made a few tough, tough buckets in the paint. A few of them nearly rolled off, but that’s mostly irrelevant. He was near perfect last night.

  • @TRX: I agree his ORB rate is inflated by his own at the rim misses, but he’s still the team’s best ORB guy. He got a couple of monster ORBs last night on other people’s misses.

    And re: his win shares–I think that reflects how rough his transition has been this season.

  • CG

    Baby is still getting his shot blocked, but that is part of the package with him now. Bynum being out made a HUGE difference. Baby can take it to smaller guys, but not Bynum and Gasol. I’m willing to accept the blocks as a result of aggressive play by a guy with obvious limitations.

    The one thing I wish Baby would do differently is too be a little more discerning with regard to when to take it back up vs. kick it out. He does his best work when he is on the move, where his strongest features are the ones that matter – quickness, agility, and strength. When he is flat-footed his worst aspects determine his success – lack of height, lack of leaping ability, short arms.

  • Tom

    Big Baby has a role and spot on the team, but he can’t play over his head and do stupid things that will hurt the team (The wide open jumper he missed in the 1st)or the two blowbys by Odom when it is clear that he cant go to the right!!!

  • Jay P


    You realize 6 inches would make him almost 7’3?

    Lol, the guys already about 6’9… I’d settle for 2-3 more inches. But ya, he’s got a great skill set for a big man, it’s a shame he doesn’t have the size.

  • Jay P

    There’s no question Bynum being out helped him. But such is Basketball, guys go down, you have to take advantage, and he did that by attacking the depleted length of the Lakers interior.

    It’s a shame because if Bynum stays out, LA fans will always be able to say “well we’d of won if we had Bynum” but they already did that in 08 too, so we’ll just respond with a “Kiss the ring bitch.”

    Oh how I’m going to savor that moment…

  • Chris L.

    Earlier in the year, Glen Davis wanted a new nickname. But nothing ever stuck, because frankly, you need to earn your nickname. I think he earned a new nickname last night. Given his thick frame and the drool incident, I am thinking Glen “Bulldog” Davis.

  • Coolin

    People on here talking negative about Davis are really pathetic and not very intelligent, obviously. If it wasn’t for him and Nate we would be down 3-1. The energy these guys bring is HUGE to the success of the Celtics.

    We have Rondo who shows no emotion and is showing that he is the most over hyped/over rated player still playing in the playoffs. The guys a ball hog who can’t shoot at all. I have heard about how smart he is and I don’t see it at all. The guy is the definition of aloof out there.

    Garnett’s one handed rebounds are truly a sad sight to see, even when he is in position he can’t raise both his arms anymore.

    Big Baby, Nate Robinson and Paul Pierce were players of the game for the Celtics. Hopefully we keep seeing more of Big Baby and Nate and less of Garnett and Rondo.

    All you Rondo worshipers need to stop drinking the Rondo Kool-Aid.

  • CG

    @JayP – there is no chance Baby is his listed height of 6’9″. None. He is maybe 6’7″ and more likely 6’6″. Just look at him standing next to his teammates. He is basically the same height as Paul Pierce.

    Also, any “we didn’t have Bynum” nonsense can quickly be flipped right back with, “the only reason you won in 09 was because KG was hurt.”

  • Jay P
  • dslack

    @JayP — CG’s point is that Glen is not his listed height.

  • Jay P

    He plays small no doubt. But every player takes a physical at draft combines, don’t they?

    I find it hard to believe their tape measures are wrong…

  • Jay P

    @Chris L

    Glen “Shrek” Davis.

  • Perry

    Pretty amazing when you consider the disarray in the way his season started. We can all point to his deficiencies, but this kid has a knack for making plays in crunch time. When the spotlight shines on the greatest stage he always seems to shine the brightest.

  • Chris L.

    @ Jay P, I know that’s what he and Robinson were talking about during the press conference, but Shrek did drool?

  • Jay P

    I just think it’s an all time classic.

    Nate “Donkey” Robinson.

    Glen “Shrek” Davis.

    It doesn’t get any better than that… I can see the t-shirts with their faces superimposed on Shrek and Donkey already.

  • Marco

    Glenn “Big Once'” Davis

    Hope this new nickname sticks!

  • Tom

    Jay P,

    You know they can lie about the height. Let me ask you this, are you the same height as what is listed as your driver’s license?

    I have see Big Baby up close, he is 6’7 at best. Perk is more 6’9 or 6’10. Scal is a good 1-2″ taller than Big Baby.

  • Perry

    I said it after game 2 that Bynum’s knee would become a liability after logging in 39 minutes before he took a 6 hour flight. Jackson may indeed regret extending him for another 29 minutes Tuesday. Suddenly Davis is averaging 1.1 points per possession without Bynum compared to .060 with him on the floor. More importantly is the rebounding edge, which the Celts should own if Bynum is not able to sustain quality minutes or is forced to sit out completely. Davis has a chance to make a larger imprint because a Gasol-Odom starting front court will give way to a smaller lineup when he takes the floor.

  • urbeltic

    I love Baby. I love him more because last night he wasn’t shooting jumpers, he was just doing man stuff, and doing all the things the C’s did in 08 to the wussbag Lakers. Big Baby probably wont be a C forever, but I’ll respect him and enjoy watching him in the future.

    When I was watching him play last night I thought about the 2010 Celtics road kill. First there was Antawn Jamison…a big tall stud with no heart playing with that deer in the headlights look THE MILI-SECOND things got tough. Then Rasheed Lewis, a big tall stud with no heart, same look in his face. And…I have to say, then there is Lamar Odom, same deal. Baby has none of the god given physical blessings that these guys have, but his sheer determination and will are inspiring.

    Would you take Baby over these guys…not a chance in hell, but he is special nonetheless.

  • urbeltic

    Rashard, not Rasheed.

  • Coolin

    @ Urbeltic: I would take Glen Davis even before last night over Rashard and Odom, who are both soft. I will take the mentality GD brings compared to those two, everytime. Him and Nate are out here to make names for themsleves and to do that you have to win. They don’t have the big time contracts just yet and this is there stage to get paid.

  • urbeltic

    @Coolin, its going to be interesting to see how Baby progresses as a pro, but I still pick the other guys.

    The best counter-attack for the Baby is to isolate him on D….and I think we saw that last night after Baby got it going. The Lakes figured if they couldn’t stop his O-moves, they’d park Gasol/Odom down low and use their height mismatch…and it worked. I’d expect to see the same thing for game 5, and unless Baby tears it up on the offensive side, we may be playing with fire.

  • Jay P

    Players like Davis and Robinson have to be in the right system. They have to have coachs who can get them to buy in and accept their role, and exceed in it.

    In this way Doc and Thibs (got I’m gonna miss him) have done a great job. They’ve done what most people said was pretty much the unthinkable, got Nate Robinson to play defense.

    It’s truly amazing to me to watch him right now and where he’s come. He’s really bought into the system and has been nothing but a great presence to have, both on and off the court.

    Far as Glen goes, he’s always been a great teammate and a guy willing to do whatever the team needs from him to win. If it’s energy, he’ll bring it, if it’s scoring, he’ll attack, if it’s rebounding, he’ll fight for every ball, if it’s a guy cheering from the bench and pumping everyone up, he’ll be that guy. I love the guy and to me he is the epitome of Celtic grit and pride.

  • Ray Leighton

    @Coolin — I realize that you are excited about last night’s game and the play of the bench, but when you start talking about Rondo as if he’s a mediocre player, you obviously haven’t been paying much attention this year. Yeah, Rondo is having a mediocre series — you are aware that Kobe is covering him most of the time, right? You didn’t miss the fact that Rondo has 5 career triple-doubles in the playoffs, and that the only other active player who can say that is Lebron? And that one of those triple-doubles was in Game 2 of this series when Rondo shredded the Lakers’ defense in the 4th quarter? You obviously missed the dive-on-the-floor, steal, and basket against Orlando that was pretty much pure effort and hustle? Or the fact that he led the league in steals? All-NBA-Defense first-team?

    4th in the league in assists, averaging almost 10 a game, and you think he’s a ball-hog?!? That may have been the dumbest thing that any Celtic fan has said on this blog. If you haven’t observed Rondo’s intelligence this year, then you don’t know a whole lot about basketball — you realize that the Celtics have some of the most complex sets on offense in the league and that this guy runs it?

    I’ve been frustrated by Rondo’s play in the last couple of games too and he has looked apathetic at times. But I’m getting tired of people forgetting that a player played really well just two games ago and was a really good all-star-level player for the entire season, but suddenly he should be getting less playing time because he had a couple of bad games, and because the guys on the bench had one good game. Players, even good ones, have bad games. Ask Lebron or Dwight or Kobe.

    It’s a couple

  • Celt Fans we ought to be encouraged by the fact if the green team shoots a decent percentage (43-45%) the next couple of games this series will end quick. Our defense locks them down in big moments with or without Bynam (with all due respect to their shot blocking abilty). All we have to do is sink the makable shot with some sort of regularity and we bring home the prize again.

    Go Green Team!

  • Coolin

    @ Ray Leighton: I am excited about last night and that was because the Celtics won. I am very dissatisfied with how Rondo is so inconsistent in his play on the floor. Sure he can go for Triple-Doubles and then he can really just be a total aloof-dud. What I want in my point guard is consistency and if that is giving up Triple-Doubles than so-be-it.

    For as many steals he gets, he gets burned just as much. He hurts the Celtics with his all or nothing attempts to get steals. Just defend and keep the guy in front of you, that is all I ask.

  • I don’t think this statement from Coolin is true at all re: Rondo:

    “For as many steals he gets, he gets burned just as much”

  • Shooter

    I love Baby,remember the very 1st game he played for us against Detroit………..kind of similar to how he came alive in game 4.His quickness for a big behemoth is astounding,i mean he has very quick feet.If only he was 6-9 with a 2-3 inch higher vertical,he would be a 20-10 guy.He’s one of the strongest players in the league if not the strongest,he has excellent body control he has heart,will,grit, attitude and a great work ethic.
    I love how he hasn’t gotten too trigger happy with his jumper and he’s finding his points off misses or just simply powering his way to the basket for and 1s.

    About next season there’s one player who i think Ainge should target to add to our roster……………..Raja Bell.I love TA but we could get Raja for much cheaper and he can actually shoot.I absolutely love Raja,he’s a great teamate a good leader and he’d fit in perfectly with our system.
    Re sign Nate and entice Travis Outlaw to play here.

  • Shooter

    BTW i was def not one of those who wanted Shelden Williams to get mins over Baby………WTF were yall thinking.