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Boston Celtics/Cleveland Cavaliers: 10/26/07 - Recap Big Baby Edition

Last night Tommy Heinsohn praised Glen "Big Baby" Davis' play in New Jersey by saying, "He got out of the crib, threw away the bottle and really stomped on his toys." Tommy went on to discuss Big Baby's ability to finish with both hands, post presence and flexibility to block shots. So I decided to track Big Baby's possessions last night and overall play. Here goes nothing.

At the 10:02 mark in the second quarter Zydrunas Illgauskas got the ball in the post with his back to the basket. Big Z dribbled once, turned, pump faked and drew a foul on Kendrick Perkins. This was significant for three reasons:

  1. It was Perkins' third foul. As a result we got to see Perk's slow walk to the bench/angriest man in the building routine.
  2. Tommy Heinsohn revealed that his blatant homerism is in mid season form when he remarked, "Now when you're up in the air you ought to be entitled to come down." For the record if Perk had used a pump fake to draw a foul on Illgauskas Tommy would have praised the play and pointed to the maturation of Perk.
  3. Big Baby entered the game.
1st offensive possession: Set a pick for Eddie House. Recovered a loose ball that Paul Pierce lost in the paint. Posted up but did not receive the ball.

1st defensive possession: - Put a body on Illgauskas while putting his hands in the air as if to say "I'm not bodying him." Ira Newble drew a foul on Brian Scalabrine and headed to the line. Heinsohn essentially placed the blame on Big Baby,

"There was a, a team defensive thing that happened that time ahh Big Baby had Illgauskas and they just rolled over the top of Illgauskas and because Big Baby really didn't move, Newble was able to come over the top and head to the hoop. Posey was trailing on the play. Those are the little, delicate things that Big Baby is going to learn or have to learn to be an effective defensive player. But I'll tell you what I see in this kid is a pretty smart player and I think he'll adjust quickly." - Tommy Heinsohn

Mike Gorman then asked, "Has he moved in front of Leon?" Now this reminded me of one my favorite running subplots from last season. Tommy loved Rajon Rondo  and clearly was not in the Sebastian Telfair fan club. Yet he would not criticize Telfiar per say. However, anyone watching and listening could tell his opinions. Tommy praised Rondo more frequently and downplayed or ignored Telfair's positive contributions. However, fast forward a year and consider the fact that Tommy loves both Powe and Big Baby. Now it's interesting.  

2nd offensive possession: Hung around and then crashed the offensive boards, drawing a foul in the process prompting Tommy to remark - "Yeah that was like a bowling alley and the pins this. In they go...well."

2nd defensive possession: - Big Baby jumped out on Larry Hughes, bumping the supposed Pippen to LeBron's MJ in the process, after a pick and roll before returning to cover Drew Gooden. Shortly thereafter Gooden got the ball and scored on a Perkins style righty jump hook. Gorman and Heinsohn praised Big Baby's defensive effort.

3rd offensive possession: - He hung around for a bit and made a half-hearted attempt at setting a pick for James Posey. He got the ball around the left elbow, drove into the paint and misfired on a reverse lay up, falling down for the first time in the aftermath.

3rd defensive possession: - Once again Big Baby jumped out to get in Hughes' face on a pick and roll, leaving Gooden wide open. Big Baby recovered as Hughes drove to the basket and missed. Put it this way: You don't want Glen Davis defending a Steve Nash/Amare Stoudamire pick and roll just yet.

4th offensive possession: - Set a pick for Eddie House and though he barely made contact Big Baby is so wide that by the time the defender ran around him House was on his way to the hoop for a  lay up, which he converted.

4th defensive possession: - Put a body on Gooden and then kept one eye on Gooden and one on the ball.

5th offensive possession: - Hung out and watched Paul Pierce and Ray Allen work. No shame in that.

5th defensive possession: - Followed Gooden around. Watched Newble hit a shot.

6th offensive possession: - Tried to set a pick on LeBron. Posted up but did not get the ball.

6th defensive possession: - Half fronted Gooden and then played behind him once Gooden got the ball. Watched Gooden throw up a brick.

7th offensive possession: - Hung out at the top of the lane and then cut towards the hoop and scored a lay up with an assist from Ray Allen. Obviously Gooden was trying to help with Allen. Upon review Big Baby did not aggressively cut until he had the ball but did show quickness getting to the hoop and a nice touch in finishing. Tommy explained that Big Baby and Perkins are the only guys on the Celtics that are not pick and pop guys. They will finish at the hoop. Therefore, if Pollard is out, expect minutes for Big Baby.

7th defensive possession: - Foul on Garnett that sent Gooden to the line.

8th offensive possession: - Garnett headed to the line for two. Davis gave him daps after KG made the first but then was boxed out on the second, which was a miss that the Cavs corralled.

8th defensive possession: - Gooden sprung Hughes for a jump shot on a pick and roll. Hughes connected and Tommy remarked that Big Baby's wide body prevented Eddie House from putting a hand in Hughes' face.

9th offensive possession: - Posted up but did not receive the ball because KG did. Crashed the boards after KG missed and then micarculously kept his feet after stumbling through the lane.

9th defensive possession:- Battled for a rebound after LeBron missed a shot.

10th offensive possession: - Last man back on offense, set a pick for Ray Allen, rolled and watched as Allen turned it over while trying to feed Big Baby.

10th defensive possession: - Paul Pierce foul/Kevin Garnett goal tend on LeBron.

11th offensive possession: - Got the ball just inside the three point line, immediately threw it to Garnett, set a pick for Pierce, rolled, got the ball from Pierce who had received it from KG, and scored on reverse lay up. I was really impressed with his athleticism on the finish. Tommy was impressed as well: "That's why I like Glen Davis. You see that move? There aren't an awful lot of rookies coming in that would make that move."

11th defensive possession: - Hung around as LeBron missed a three.  

12th offensive possession: - Hung around as Ray Allen hit a three.

12th defensive possession: - Another Garnett goal tend, which Tommy vigorously criticized but still found time to say more about Big Baby: "I'm telling your rookies don't make the play normally." - I think he misses the bigger point that guys Davis' size don't make that play normally.

13th offensive possession/13 defensive possession: - After a Rajon Rondo turnover Big Baby shows the presence of mind to try and get himself out of a LeBron poster. Check it out at the 3:02 mark here.

14th offensive possession: - Set a pick for Rondo. Hung out as Ray Alllen missed a three.

14th defensive possession: - More hanging out on a LeBron miss.

15th offensive possession: - Fought for a rebound on a KG miss but did not get it.

15th defensive possession: - Picked up Illgauskas on a switch, tried to help on a driving LeBron, which left Illgauskas open on the put back. What are you going to do?

16th offensive possession: - Got the ball on a drive from Rondo, got fouled and finished. Yelled in KG's face for a few seconds in celebration and then missed the free throw.

16th defensive possession: - Nothing of note

17th offensive possession: - Nothing of note

17th defensive possession: - Drew a charge on LeBron while standing in the circle. Wait is this still a star's league? That will never, ever happen again. "I don't care!" - Tommy's response to Big Baby being in the circle. Once again reverse the possession, call it the same way and Tommy would have gone ballistic.

With just under a minute left in the half Big Baby sat down until the 4:53 mark of the 4th quarter.

18th offensive possession: - Travel on the Cavs that probably saved Big Baby from a three second violation, although that is more of a first quarter call.

18th defensive possession: - Fought for possession, got the ball near the three point line, dribbled, spun and missed a shot.

19th defensive possession: - Helped defend a pick and roll. Watched Shannon Brown score.

19th offensive possession: - Set a pick for House, rolled, inexplicably was completely free, and easily scored. Tommy praised Big Baby for how quickly he learned to set a pick in the NBA, particularly when compared to Perk and even Al Jefferson.

Tommy came to terms with the Powe/Davis fight for time by announcing that Powe is a power forward and Davis will get time at center.

20th defensive possession: - Nothing of note.

20th offensive possession: - Missed a baseline jumper that Tommy praised him for taking as guys like the aforementioned Al Jefferson were reluctant to shoot early in their careers.

21st defensive possession: - Nothing of note.

21st offensive possession: - Got the ball in the high post, weighed his options and passed it away.

22nd defensive possession - Nothing of note.  

Somehow my recording quit with 1:51 left in the game. Some parting shots:

This little exercise took quite some time, especially if you consider the fact that Big Baby only played 14 minutes.

I watched the game last night and could have sworn that Davis fell 3-4 times. Upon further review this morning he fell once and stumbled all over the court several times.

I'm interested to see how many minutes Davis will get. If Scot Pollard can play Doc will most likely go with the veteran experience.

Big Baby's width is as big of an asset when he is setting a pick, as it is a disadvantage when he is trying to defend one.

Davis was smart to take the "Big Baby" nickname and run with it. If he were known solely as Glen Davis people such as myself would throw around "Tons of Fun" and all sorts of nonsense.

Big Baby works on defense and is willing to throw his weight around. So he's not a complete liability. That said I could see teams taking advantage of him.

If Big Baby struggles to get playing time he will have to find ways to stay motivated and in shape.

It is not entirely fair to compare Davis' game to Perk's and Al Jefferson's early years because Big Baby spent some time in college. He is not some 18 year old rookie trying to learn how to play basketball.  

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