When Davis looked around toward the end of the first quarter Sunday night against the Bucks, he saw Carlos Arroyo, Sasha Pavlovic, Jeff Green and Troy Murphy. That unit now has roughly four minutes of familiarity.
"The first half I felt weird a little bit, because I didn't remember [anybody] on the team," Davis said with a dose of humor. "I was like, Nate? Carlos? I can't even pronounce [No.] 77."
Reminded that No. 77 is Pavlovic, Davis said, "I just say, 'What's up?' 'Hey!' I've got to get familiar with the names." Turning more serious, he added, "[I'm] just trying to get in a rhythm. I was out for a couple days, I really couldn't do [any] running. I was on the treadmill, but that really doesn't simulate a game. So I'm just trying to get my feet under me and stuff like that."
After missing the last four games, Davis eased himself back in with 17 minutes 45 seconds of court time, quietly chipping in nine points and seven rebounds. If he needs to develop chemistry with the newcomers, it didn't show, as Boston's second unit more than aided the Celtics in setting a franchise record by allowing the Bucks a mere 56 points.
Extended time with those newcomers in Sunday's fourth quarter will only aid Boston down the road, particularly as the second unit is leaned on to lower the starters' minutes.
"It's not just one guy," Davis said. "I might know all the plays, but [if the others] don't get it right or don't do what [coach] Doc [Rivers] wants us to do -- we've got to get practice in. That's all we've got to do -- watch film and make sure that we execute how he have to execute."
Davis didn't show any hesitation because of the knee, and an early collision with Milwaukee big man Jon Brockman only aided that cause.
"I was just trying to kind of feel it out a little bit," Davis said. "I think I kind of felt it a little bit more when I missed my first layup. It was like, 'Oh!' When I tried to jump I was like, 'Argh!' I felt it, but I didn't [feel] it. Then when Brockman hit me, it felt like, 'OK, you're back.'"
And Davis plowed Brockman a few plays later, playfully dubbing it payback. Davis expects to be sore for the rest of the season, but said he's ready for more action Monday in New Jersey.
"It's not going to be fully healed," Davis said of his knee. "It just feels better. It just feels real better and you want that. I'm just going to keep chugging along, and hopefully in June it'll be all well worth it."
--KRSTIC REMAINS CENTER OF ATTENTION--
At what point do we suggest there might be a center controversy brewing when Shaquille O'Neal is healthy enough to play? Well, it's probably worth avoiding that debate entirely until anyone with the last name O'Neal is able to get back on the court, but Nenad Krstic is making a strong push to maintain quality minutes even when Boston gets its veteran centers back.
Fresh off a 16-point, 15-rebound effort in Friday's loss to the 76ers, Krstic produced another double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds over 26:58 in Sunday's win over the Bucks.
Krstic did much of his damage in the first half (totaling nine points and 11 rebounds before intermission) and also produced his finest defensive effort in green. He admitted he's thriving in his new Boston role.
"It's just getting more involved, especially offensively," Krstic said of the difference between Boston and Oklahoma City. "I'm touching the ball. In Oklahoma City, sometimes like five or six times, I didn't touch the ball. [Even] if it's not to shoot, just to touch the ball. Here it is different. Here if you play aggressively, if you run the floor or get a good duck-in inside the paint, you're going to get the ball."
And if Krstic has proven anything, it's that he can put the ball in the basket (or at least get to the line) when Rondo and Co. put the rock in his hands around the hoop. Over his last five games, Krstic is averaging 15 points and 9.4 rebounds over 30.8 minutes per game.
Maybe the most surprising aspect of Krstic's game has been his rebounding, something that didn't exactly stand out with the Thunder with Jeff Green in the deadline deal that sent Nate Robinson and Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City.
"There's no real explanation, just be aggressive, and I don't really think coming into the game, I'm really thinking about getting rebounds," Krstic said. "It's possible, but I try to box out my guy, get a rebound. Whoever gets the rebound, it doesn't really matter."
--LAYUP LINE: SKILES CALLS LOSS HUMILIATING; C'S UNAWARE OF MARKS--
* Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles on a rough night at the office: "That’s about as humiliating a defeat as you’ll ever see. Right at the jump ball, Rondo got right up into Brandon [Jennings], they got right up into our guards, and they got us on our heels and took our competitive fight away from us. We pretty much just gave into it.”
Skiles later noted, "We had a hard time just even dribbling the ball." The Bucks committed 18 turnovers (not that the Celtics were much better turning it over 17 times).
* Andrew Bogut can't make heads or tails of the Eastern Conference.
“Philly beat Boston, we blow out Philly, and Boston blows us out, it’s just the way the league is. We came out tonight and didn’t have good cohesion offensively. Our defense was good, we limited them, when we were still fighting for the game, before the benches came on, that was a big point. We were right there defensively.”
* Paul Pierce joked that he didn't have his Celtics record book with him on the bench and didn't know about the franchise record Boston set for points allowed. Rivers said he didn't either, and tried to ease the blow for Milwaukee.
“No, honestly, did we set a record? I didn’t know that," Rivers said. "But if we did, yeah, good point. I really thought this was one of those scheduled losses for Milwaukee. I just thought this was very similar to the game we had against Phoenix where you play a game and you lose an hour going backward and then they lost another hour with the time change, and then we started the game at 6 o'clock. So, I just thought -- you looked at the schedule -- I was concerned early in the game because we were up 10 and we were blowing layups, we were missing a lot of shots. You could see they were tired. So we took advantage of that and that was great, but a lot of it had to do with their schedule.”