"They can't beat us," said Boston's Glen Davis after Orlando, well, beat them.
Davis clarified his words moments later by adding, "they came out and played better than us today, but if you are talking about a seven-game series, I don't think they can beat us."
Davis didn't limit his insults to the team, though. Dwight Howard was next.
"I have been playing Dwight since 2004, when I was playing against him in the AAU circuit," Davis said. "His game hasn't really changed. It's not like has a jump shot, or a new spin move. He has the same moves since high school. He has the same post moves."
You mean the "run across the lane, chuck up a touch-less baby hook and pray it goes in" technique isn't new? I always thought Howard worked hard to develop that one over the years.
In all honesty, what Davis said about Howard was surprising. It's not every day a Celtic verbally attacks an MVP candidate. Davis isn't wrong -- I'm sure Howard's post game doesn't look much different from his AAU days -- but his harsh words still weren't expected.
In reality, Howard struggles against the Celtics, probably more than he does against any other team. Why? Boston has a lot of players who cause him problems. When Kendrick Perkins is healthy, the Celtics have three players who are as strong or stronger than Howard in the post. That sounds unfathomable, right? Howard's the most impressive physical specimen in the game, a player with shoulders as wide as a mack truck and arms sculpted out of stone. But watch him in the post against the Boston Celtics some time. He can't budge Shaq; that was established yesterday. He can't move Perk an inch, either, or Davis. It's weird, because Howard's built like a Greek god on steroids, but when he steps on the court with the Celtics, he might very well be the fourth-strongest man in the building.
The most impressive part about yesterday's defensive effort against Howard wasn't that the Celtics limited him to only six points, and only four field goal attempts. It was this: Boston did all that without double-teaming Howard. As they almost always do, the C's played Howard straight-up. They can afford to, partly because they have such strong defenders, and partly because -- in Davis' words -- Howard's post game is the same as it was in 2004.
Of course, Howard can score very little and still affect a game drastically. The Celtics shot 34.6% yesterday, and I promise it wasn't because of Hedo Turkoglu's lock-down defense. Even when he doesn't block shots (and he blocked five yesterday), Howard alters them. I can remember one floater by Ray Allen that almost struck the rafters, before bouncing off the rim harmlessly. I'm not even sure Howard was in the vicinity, but even his threat caused Ray to put more loft on the shot than he expected. Howard's presence also allows his teammates to apply more pressure. If they get beat, it's not the end of the world. Howard's there to slap away his teammates' mistakes.
But, well, his post game is the same as it was in 2004, according to Glen Davis. And his team can't beat the Celtics, according to Glen Davis.
Maybe Davis is correct, on both counts. Maybe he's not. But whether he's accurate or false, the truth of the matter is this: the 2010 Celtics shattered at least two opponents' hearts on their way to the Finals -- the Magic and Cavaliers. The 2010 Orlando Magic entered their playoff series with the Celtics a juggernaut, and the Eastern Conference favorite. They left with a whimper, put in their place by an obviously superior team. A few months later, Otis Smith displayed his desperation for the entire NBA, blowing up his team because he knew it wasn't championship ready. Now they're trying to rebuild on the fly, adding three flawed players in an attempt to win a championship and keep Howard in Orlando after he becomes a free agent. And the Cavs? Well, let's not talk about them. Just silently observe how far they've fallen.
As for Glen Davis? Well, maybe he should shut his mouth after a loss. But he, like the rest of his teammates, remains perfectly confident in his team's ability. And why not? The Celtics have won 14 of their last 15 games, and should add three major pieces in the next month or so.
Things are looking good.