Shots fall this time; Davis will take it
TORONTO — It was like the basketball gods were testing his judgment.
The ball swung to Glen Davis in the fourth quarter of last night’s game against the Raptors, much like it did two nights before when the Celtics were down 3 with 1:13 left against the Hornets. In that instance, Davis decided to launch a 3-pointer, only he came up empty and took criticism for it.
Coach Doc Rivers chewed him out so badly, Davis joked, that he wasn’t going to shoot at all against Toronto.
This time, even though he was in a groove (having made five of his seven second-half shots), and the shot clock was winding down, Davis refused to shoot.
Instead, he passed to Rajon Rondo. The shot clock expired. But no way was Davis taking another 3.
That decision didn’t quite work out, but most of Davis’s others did in the Celtics’ 93-79 win over Toronto. He forced nothing and finished two assists shy of his first career triple-double (15 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists).
After having gone 4 of 14 in the loss to the Hornets, Davis started 1 for his first 7 against the Raptors. But in the second half things came together and he helped the Celtics pull away.
“I took the same exact shots, they just fell,’’ Davis said. “It’s so funny how basketball is, but no matter what, you’ve just got to stay positive and when you’ve got your teammates behind you saying, ‘Hey, man, keep shooting,’ that gives you more confidence to continue shooting because you don’t want to let them down.’’
Davis said he didn’t regret taking the 3-pointer against New Orleans, but he acknowledged that he was pressing filling in for the injured Kevin Garnett.
“I think last game I kind of wanted to help out,’’ Davis said. “Things weren’t going well. I got frustrated. I wanted to do something and ended up doing nothing because I wanted to do something so bad. You want it too bad and you don’t realize what you’re doing or how you’re doing it.’’
Rivers didn’t hesitate to give Davis an earful, but both understand it’s for his benefit.
“It’s funny, he kind of forced shots the last game, and tonight he kept it simple,’’ Rivers said. “Baby is a very good player for us when he just stays within his role and keeps the game simple. I think he gets himself in trouble when he tries to do too much. Just do what you do, and the game will take care of itself.’’
Sprain for Pierce Paul Pierce threw down one last dunk to give him 30 points. It also gave him a sprained ankle, though he didn’t seem too troubled by it as he left
“I turned it,’’ he said. “Not too bad, though. It swelled up, but I’ve got pretty flexible ankles.’’
Even though the Celtics have had their share of bad breaks recently, Rivers didn’t see it as much of a concern, either.
“Paul sprained his ankle at the end,’’ Rivers said. “Either that or he wanted to come out. I think he thought we had practice tomorrow, because that’s what the veterans do. You ever notice that? They get hurt at the end of games so they don’t have to practice tomorrow. But we actually play tomorrow, so he’ll be OK.’’
Adjustment period With Rajon Rondo back in the lineup, the plan was to free Nate Robinson of ballhandling duties and hand them over to Marquis Daniels. But sickness limited Daniels to just 12 minutes, the fewest he’d played since Nov. 19 against Oklahoma City.
Robinson played 14 relatively quiet minutes.
“I wanted Nate to play more,’’ Rivers said. “I thought Nate struggled a little bit. But you can see him getting even more comfortable. Our plan for Marquis to handle the ball more kind of went out the window when [trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] before the game told me he wasn’t feeling well. So we put the ball back in Nate’s hands. That was not our intention.’’
Earning his keep Von Wafer continues to get more playing time, making the most of his 14 minutes, getting to the rim for a first-half basket but making his mark via defense.
“Von’s earning minutes,’’ Rivers said. “He deserves to play. It’s amazing. It just takes guys time. But Von understands, you play for us if you play defense first. Now, Von’s defending 3s and 2s.
“Von can play offense. There’s no doubt he’s an NBA offensive player. But to play for us, you’ve got to play defense first, and he’s doing that.’’
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.