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Glen Davis Exhibiting Plenty of Effort

Sometimes you can't help but wonder what Glen Davis is actually thinking. He's certainly had his fair share of moments this season that have probably caused your face to slump into your hand (the thumb injury stemming from the fight, the incident with the Detroit fan, and "Uno Uno" come to mind), causing you to also wonder, possibly aloud, why the man doesn't just worry about basketball and forget all of the other shenanigans that have seriously threatened to define his season.

Fortunately, ever since that incident in Detroit on January 20, the artist formerly knows as "Big Baby" has cut out the superfluous junk that has plagued both his game and his reputation, and has seemed to re-focus his everlasting energy strictly on the basketball court. And that energy has in fact highlighted his play of late. He certainly hasn't been a perfect player, but the various flaws that have hindered his game, have so far, for the most part, been overshadowed by the relentless effort he's putting forth these days.

Obviously "hustle" stats are not kept in NBA game logs, but if you've watched this team of late, you'd be hard pressed to argue that the energy isn't there from Davis, which must be a welcome relief for Doc Rivers, because in these troubled times, effort has sometimes been harder to find than Carmen San Diego.

If you want specific instances of where Davis has gone above and beyond in the effort category, take a look back at the start of the second quarter against the Wizards on March 7. With 11:44 left in the frame, Davis tore after a lose ball heading for the Washington bench, cuffed it and ripped it back into play, then vaulted the Washington bench and landed somewhat gracefully - given his physical circumstances - on his feet along an aisle that ran horizontal amongst the first row of fans (kudos to the guy holding the beer who kept his left arm and the beer out of the action as Davis nearly landed on him).

Or just last night, with 9:44 to go in the game, with the Celtics ahead by more than 20 points, Davis stepped around Roy Hibbert, stole the entry pass that was intended for him, shot an outlet pass to Rondo who started the break, and busted his butt down the court only to receive the ball back from Rondo and almost threw it down hard while getting fouled. 

There are many other specific scenarios I could rattle off, but in watching him, despite being only 6'9 in an area of the court where being 6'10 or taller would serve one much better, he has become very adept at both offensive rebounding (something the Celtics are sorely lacking in these days) and keeping missed shots alive in general. 

Through the seven games the Celtics have played in March, Davis has as many offensive rebounds as both Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins combined (12). Going back a little bit farther, Davis's 2.2 offensive rebounds per game average for February is higher than both the averages of Garnett and Perkins combined (2.0). And for the season (in less games), Davis's offensive rebounds per game average (2.1) is higher than that of both Garnett and Perkins. 

With all of that said, the Celtics' best offensive rebounder this season does have a few flaws - with some being ones that he cannot overcome. Being 6'9 and 289 pounds, Davis' lift has always been suspect, and there have been a number of occasions when what appears to be a lack of lift has hindered him on the offensive glass. When he pulls down a missed shot for the Celtics, he sometimes has difficulty putting it back up quick enough before the defense can react. When he hesitates, or tries to re-assess his position, he sometimes sets himself up for failure, as opposing big men can prime themselves for a block or a strip. 

But if turnovers are going to happen, wouldn't you much rather have them come off of Davis's hustle, rather than off a lackluster entry pass or an ill advised skip pass that's intercepted by the defense before it can get halfway across the court? Yeah, me too. You can live with Davis's turnovers if they come on the heels of him hustling his tail off. You can also live with the missed layups and putbacks (perhaps not as easily), as long as he's exhibiting the hustle needed to secure chances at those putbacks. 

On top of that, he's become the Celtics' resident  charge-taker, a role previously held by the likes of James Posey and Leon Powe. These days, Davis is more than willing to slide into the paint and position himself to draw an offensive foul. 

And finally, that jump shot of his that was so valuable in last year's postseason, has been all but absent this year, which works just fine given the bench mates Davis has around him. The C's have plenty of other jump shooters in their second unit (Nate Robinson, Michael Finley, and Rasheed Wallace, namely), so Davis serves the team best by continuing to crash the offensive glass, taking charges when the opportunities arise, and saving whatever lose balls he can get his hands on. At this point, that jumper can be labeled as nothing more than an extra clip of ammo - a helpful tool that Davis should be able to utilize, but only when absolutely necessary. 

We can only hope the drama that served as an unhelpful add-on to Glen Davis' game has forever disappeared, for his now apparently clear head has allowed for him to do some pretty useful things on the court. If nothing else, Davis is hopefully learning right now, amidst his respectable play of late, that he doesn't need the unruly distractions to make a name for himself in the NBA. 

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