Don't call it a comeback, but Glen Davis is back- hopefully this time for good.
There have been a couple bumps, and a few detours along the way, but Davis has shown that he is fully capable of being the sixth man, and the backup big man that the Celtics hoped to have with Rasheed Wallace, and struggled to win without all season.
This did not show more than it did last night, as Davis logged over 24 minutes of energy-packed, hard nosed basketball, including all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter in Kendrick Perkins' place. While the stat line is nothing to gawk at (seven points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals), Davis' tenacity on the court is what makes him so effective.
"Glen has been a big part of our winning," said Garnett. "He's a spark plug off the bench. I've often said the future of this team is going to be how young guys progress, I thought he did just that. I thought he did a great job taking care of his health. He was very fit to come in here and play big minutes. He's been a very hard worker and it definitely showed in his efforts when he plays."
Doc Rivers talked to Davis before the game, asking him if he had ever heard of Milli Vanilli. When Davis said he hadn't, Rivers told him it was because Milli Vanilli was a one hit wonder, and he didn't want Davis to be a one hit wonder in this series after his impressive Game 2 performance.
"He got the message I think, clearly," said Rivers. "His energy was terrific tonight. It was absolutely terrific."
Rivers had a challenge at halftime for anyone on his team- draw a charge on Dwayne Wade. Wade had been getting to the basket with ease this series, and it was time for someone to step up, and step into a charge. Who do you think accepted the challenge?
"You know, he took a charge on Wade," Rivers continued. "And that's when- I don't know if you noticed when he took the charge he was pointing at the bench- so that was good. It was good to see him play hard and have fun."
It certainly isn't the first time Davis has put his body in harms way out there on the court. In fact, Davis leads the team in charges drawn per 40 minutes, at .86. To put that into perspective, the league average is .34 charges drawn per 40 minutes. Davis ranks tied for 9th in the league in charges drawn per 40 minutes (minimum 40 games and 15 minutes per game). Davis, who has drawn 20 charges in 54 games this season, has more than double the amount of drawn charges than the next PF/C in line, Kevin Garnett, who has nine drawn charges in 69 games and 1,100 more minutes than Davis.
"He is very valuable because he does all the little things," said Paul Pierce. "The big steal, the big charge on Dwayne Wade... Baby comes in and he does it because he got tired of seeing Wade get to the bucket all the way without guys stepping up in front of him, and he could have had a couple more."
And it's not just the drawn charges that keep Davis on the floor. His presence on the offensive glass cannot be overlooked. Davis ranks tied for 10th in the league in offensive rebounds per 40 minutes with 4.3 (minimum 40 games and 15 minutes per game). Kendrick Perkins is second on the team with 2.9 per 40 minutes. Davis has 101 offensive rebounds on the season, compared to 104 defensive rebounds. He has 23 more offensive rebounds than Garnett has on the season, and 59 more offensive rebounds than Rasheed Wallace does (Davis has logged 932 minutes to Wallace's 1,785).
But Big Baby is his own worst enemy at times. The problem in the past for Davis is that he often gets caught up in the moment- his moment. Let's be honest, nobody was prouder of Glen Davis after Game 2 than the Ticket Stub himself.
"We tell all our players this: You don't need to parade out there every good game. You just got to continue to play," said Rivers.
"He is so talented," Rivers continued, "and his IQ is ridiculous, it really is. But, you know, he lets up at times. He starts thinking about what he's done well, instead of just keep playing. And he's a young kid still. And that's the maturity part that is growing. And I think it's getting better and better."
Whether it's a key steal that leads to a fast break, or a timely basket while drawing the foul, Davis gets the crowd just as energetic as he is on the court. He's certainly not one to shy away in big games, as we have come to see over the past two seasons.
Davis has found his niche on this team lately. The Celtics will need that same energy out of him against the Cavaliers because when Anderson Varejao checks into the game Davis will not be far behind.
Perhaps Big Baby really is growing up in front of our eyes?