Glen Davis, Celtics’ Second Unit Steps Up While Starters Sit to End Regular Season on High Note


April 13, 2011

Glen Davis, Celtics' Second Unit Steps Up While Starters Sit to End Regular Season on High Note Glen Davis was surprised to hear on Wednesday night that coach Doc Rivers said he'd "turned a corner" this week as the Celtics wrapped up their regular season.

"Corner?" he asked. "What do you mean, turned a corner? Turned a corner, like just walked around a corner?

"I'd seen it, and I wanted to make sure I didn't run into the corner," he joked. "Just wanted to make sure I cleared the corner and do what I needed to do for Doc Rivers."

It was explained to Big Baby that Rivers thought he'd "turned into the Baby we want" for the postseason, showing optimism and work ethic down the stretch. That made sense to him.

"Thanks, Doc," he said with a laugh. "It means a lot to turn the corner. Hopefully I can turn a lot more corners in the playoffs."

The Celtics beat the Knicks on Wednesday night, 112-102 at the TD Garden, wrapping up their regular season with a 56-26 record. Rivers gave a lot of the credit to Big Baby, who gave them 17 points, eight rebounds and a 289-pound bundle of positive energy in the season finale.

"It started in the second half of the Washington game [Monday]," Rivers said of Davis' corner-turning. "I thought in the first half, he had that sad look on his face; then it changed. Now he's playing the game again. There's sunshine with Baby instead of a dark cloud. It's nice."

The Celtics rested everyone in sight this week, and Davis was forced to step up and lead. The four All-Stars — Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo — were all healthy scratches. The two O'Neals were taking a day to rest their minor injuries. Delonte West was rehabbing a sprained ankle.

Davis, along with Jeff Green, became the two headliners. With the playoffs on the horizon, the two forwards got a nice morale boost going into Sunday's Game 1.

Big Baby made some big adjustments to his game. They didn't show up on the stat sheet, but they still had an impact — Davis improved his shot selection, made better passes, set better picks, and subtly made the Celtics a better team on Wednesday night.

"He's a big intangibles guy," Rivers said. "That's who he is. When he just comes out and throws his body around and plays hard, he's terrific for our basketball team."

Then there's Green. The former Oklahoma City forward has been in town less than two months, and he's still working to find his way as a Celtic. He gained a lot of ground in that department this week. Green's record over the past two games, taking a starring role while the starters rested: 81 minutes, 34 points, 23 rebounds, seven assists and an unquantifiable boon to his confidence.

"Very aggressive play," Rivers said of Green. "He took a charge — the whole bench exploded on that one. So that was just good. I thought the minutes just helped him get comfortable."

There were other success stories in Wednesday night. The rookie Avery Bradley went off for 20 points, quadrupling his career high. Sasha Pavlovic played 25 minutes and drained four 3-pointers to provide an unexpected offensive spark. Carlos Arroyo was a confident floor leader in Rondo's absence.

But the real story of the night was Davis and Green, the two leaders of the second unit, and the two guys most likely to make an impact in the postseason grind ahead.

For Davis, this playoff run will be nothing new. He's been through three of them before, and he won his first ring at age 22. For Green, the Oklahoma City transplant, this will be interesting.

"He has a feeling of what this is," Davis said. "He played the Lakers in round one. Now we're trying to get him to rounds two, three and four. Get him to the Finals. But he understands what Doc tells him, what the rest of the team tells him. He's going to understand when it's time to get down there, and he sees how everybody's locked in. It's going to be a whole different breed from what he saw in the regular season."

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