Never send a Beast to do a Baby’s job. On a night when the Celtics set out to avenge the last of their three losses so far this season, Glen Davis proved to be exactly what the C’s needed—a post presence not named Kevin Garnett.
Perkins, Pollard, and Powe should take note. Because apparently the job description seems very complex to them. First of all, Davis stood under the hoop with his hands up. That part is important, and no one consistently does it. Surprisingly, when there are 3 superstars on the team, more often than not you will be wide open if you simply stand under the hoop while said stars make the defenses move.
Secondly, Davis cleanly caught passes while standing under the hoop. Not only that, but he then proceeded to make lay-ups, something Perkins, Rondo, and Ray Allen have had tremendous trouble doing as of late.
On top of his offensive production, Davis did a markedly better job than Perk and Pollard on Wallace, pushing him off the block and then keeping him off the boards by way of a quick, solid box-out. Wallace and his Piston teammate had mercilessly tipped offensive rebounds out to their guards all game long, but Davis did an excellent job of ensuring that Wallace would not have those opportunities.
The biggest questions we Celtics fans have all relate to the bench. Like, for example, what happens when Rondo is in foul trouble or playing poorly—who becomes the primary ball handler? That question is unanswered, but it is what caused the Celtics loss to the Pistons, and nearly so this game (I see you Tony Allen).
Or who will do everything when KG is out? In the first quarter last night, no one could score while KG sat. Davis picked up the scoring load, but much of it came when KG was in the game, so he proved to be a good sidekick more than a stopgap. Certainly Perkins did little (unsurprisingly), and Pollard has yet to figure out that being told he has six fouls to give does not mean he must use them all within 2 minutes of entering the game, so he is no real answer to solving a KG absence either.
Regardless of the unknowns, the Celtics did answer a few other question last night. Can they beat top caliber talent? They can, and they will. Once and for all, the Celtics did not make their schedule, they simply play the games as they come. When it comes time to play the higher talent, they will be ready.
Can they win difficult games on the road? They can, and they will. Veteran leadership makes this easier. KG has enough veteran leadership to take a bunch of pre-schoolers (ie Timberwolves) to the playoffs.
And, lastly, can they play from behind. They can, but hopefully will not have to often. Trailing most of the game, the Celtics never wavered and never lost confidence, although I am not yet willing to give Doc any credit for that.
What matters most about last night’s victory is that the Celtics rose to the occasion. Are they as good as they 72-10 Bulls? Nope. But their 29-3 record is a deserved one. They play at a high level of intensity and they play selflessly—good enough for tops in the league in ’08.