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Infant Aggression Impresses

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A Daily Babble Production

Last night was no doubt one for the starters at TD Banknorth Garden.  Four of them put up 20 points or better, and Rajon Rondo stole the show in the Celtics' 119-111 victory over the Warriors.  But we would be remiss to move on toward today's feast and tomorrow night's game without touching on one particularly encouraging sign that came off the Celtics' bench last night: the offensive play of the Infuriated Infant, Glen Davis.

Big Baby's jump shot attracted much attention on this site this week.  He has been taking it with abandon, and jumpers make up nearly 70 percent of his field-goal attempts for the season.  As 82games and dedicated reader Who point out, the problem there is that he is hitting less than 23 percent of those shots.  Count me among the believers that Davis can hit the mid-range jumper and that it wouldn't be awful for him to take it now and then, but it shouldn't make up such a disproportionately high percentage of his shooting efforts, especially for a guy with his size and ability to draw contact.  Even if he shows that he can hit it with consistency, the jumper makes more sense as a tool to keep defenses honest rather than as a primary vehicle of personal offense.

That's because getting inside to use his bulk is the logical priority for Davis, and he excelled in that area last night.  He only played 13 minutes, but for one night, there was a clear difference in approach.  It began in the second quarter when Davis passed up a look on the right wing to attack the basket against an out-of-position Golden State defender, which led to a trip to the foul line.  He got to the line again with a similar play two possessions later.

It was more of the same with the game's outcome very much uncertain in the fourth quarter.  CB writer CelticBalla32 expressed a desire earlier this week to see Davis roll toward the basket off screens rather than back out toward the perimeter, and that's exactly what happened.  With the Celts trailing by one and just outside of nine minutes to play, Davis screened for Eddie House at the top of the circles, rolled hard to the basket, received the ball and drew a foul.  On the very next play, the Pugnacious Papoose recognized the extra defensive attention being paid to Kevin Garnett on the left block and sprinted straight down the middle of the lane.  Garnett delivered the ball, and Davis forced it up and in while drawing yet another foul. 

When all was said and done, that lay-up was Big Baby's only official field-goal attempt for the evening.  That was just fine, especially because it was accompanied by a 7-for-7 performance at free throw line.  In barely more than a quarter of the game, he put up nine points (and grabbed three boards) without missing an official attempt from either the field or the charity stripe.  That right there is a productive offensive performance, and it all came about because the Infuriated Infant committed to attacking the basket as his first priority with the basketball.

Glen Davis won't be quite as successful in the paint every night because of his lack of height inside and the fact that not everyone plays the Warriors' brand of matador defense.  But the more he takes that aggressive to-the-basket approach on offense, the more valuable he will be to this Celtics team.

Happy thanksgiving to all!