Postgame notes: Big Baby's return
January, 24, 2012
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- A collection of postgame news and notes after the Boston Celtics defeated the Orlando Magic 87-56 Monday night at TD Garden:
Quick links: Big Baby's Return to Boston | Von Wafer too | Loose Balls
THE SKINNY ON BIG BABY'S TRIBUTE VIDEO
The Celtics toasted the contributions of old friend Glen Davis with a short-but-sweet video tribute during the first timeout in Monday's game.
So what did Davis think of the montage of some of his finest moments in green?
“I looked really big, like really fat," Davis said. "I was like, 'Wow, chubby.' I look a little more leaner now. But it was good. It’s always good to see things like that -- memories I can never forget. The fans showed love and I appreciate that.”
Davis' stat line might have been a little leaner than usual too, at least on the offensive end, where he chipped in 6 points on 2-of-9 shooting with 11 rebounds and 4 turnovers over 23:41 off the bench. After spending four years in Boston, Davis knew how dangerous the Celtics were despite their less-than-stellar record entering the game.
“You’ve got a team out there that’s capable of winning games and we didn’t play to the level that we needed to play," he said. "They played harder than us. Every possession they played harder than us, and we lost. That’s what happens.”
The loss spoiled the homecoming for Davis, who was flipped to Orlando with Von Wafer in a sign-and-trade deal that brought back Brandon Bass. All Bass did Monday was chip in 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting with eight rebounds over 34:01 off the bench.
Informed before the game that Magic players thought he looked skinnier, Bass found it amusing.
"Probably because I've got this European shirt," he joked. "I've got the 1X [extra large] on, and they probably just haven't seen me in a long time. When you see someone every day, you can really tell that they've gotten bigger or smaller. If you haven't seen them for a while, you can't tell. I have gotten slimmer, but last year in Orlando I was like this size."
Davis admitted his first preference would have been to stay in Boston.
"You start your career somewhere, you don’t want to really leave," he said. "You’re not like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna leave.’ Especially the memories that you have here, you want to stay. But, like you said, it’s the way of the business. Some things don’t work out the way you want to and you try out the new home.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers still heaped plenty of praise on Davis.
"Baby did a lot of great things for us," Rivers said. "He was on the stage when we held up the ball. And so he played a big part of that, he really did. He played his role, especially that year, [and] he was fantastic. He gave us a lot of laughs at times too, which is good for your locker room. But he did a lot of good things. He’s a better player sometimes, I think, than his act -- if you know what I mean. I was very hard on him, I still am when I talk to him, about being the player and not the act, because Baby has a lot of good basketball left in him. And when he focuses on that, he does it."
WAFER SURPRISED BY LACK OF C'S INTEREST
Von Wafer, a late addition to the Bass-for-Baby swap at the start of the offseason, admitted Monday he was surprised he didn't garner more interest from Boston as an unrestricted free agent.
"To be honest, yeah, I was a little bit [surprised], but I mean, that’s just part of the game," he said. "Obviously, they felt the need to go get someone else. It is what it is. I’ve been on seven different teams. I’m used to it."
Wafer, who has been a solid contributor for the Magic, chipped in five points on 2-of-5 shooting over 14:41 off the bench.
"Von's really working hard," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Von already, in our last couple of weeks here, has been a huge factor in a couple of our wins. Von's a guy that brings us something that we don't have a lot of and that's great quickness and athleticism on the perimeter. A guy who plays with great energy and can get his own shot. He's working very hard to get better at the defensive end of the floor, I think he understands that's his ticket to consistent playing time, but he's got to get better at that end. He's putting in a lot of time and effort on it, and I really like his approach right now."
Wafer, who had a noteworthy practice throwdown with Delonte West that nearly threatened both players' roster spots on the team last year, credited Ray Allen with helping him stay on track in the aftermath.
"Mentally, I feel like I’m in another place right now, and a lot of that I owe to Ray. He helped me with everything and just how to be a better professional. He took me like a big brother and he showed me the right way to do it. He knew I wasn’t a bad person, I just needed guidance. He provided it for me."
LOOSE BALLS: VAN GUNDY SAYS IT'S TOO EARLY FOR PANIC
* What does Van Gundy think about the reaction to the Celtics' early-season struggles?
"Over 66 games, things tend to equal out," he said. "But I think what happens is when you get off to slow start -- if you hit a slow start in the middle of the season, your record still looks pretty good and people don’t panic. But when it’s early in the year, they just look and see a record they don’t like, and people panic. It’s the same thing with players. If they get off to slow start, not shooting well, people tend to panic. Oh my God, he’s shooting 35 percent! ... People put too much emphasis on the early part of [the season] and panic, but you've got to have something to talk about too. If you’re going to have all these sports talk shows, you've got to talk about something. And for whatever reason, it’s a lot more fun to talk about negative stuff, and people really get into that. Now the Celtics are too old and these guys can’t play at all. So I’m not buying it. But if that’s the story, that’s the story. And you’re going to have to revise it when they win like nine out of 10. Then, I guess, they'll get younger or something as they went on."
* Celtics swingman Mickael Pietrus, who missed Monday's game with a shoulder ailment, said he hoped to be back on the floor Thursday in Orlando and caught up with friends from his old team Monday night.
* The Celtics dominated points in the paint, outscoring Orlando, 34-16. Whodathunk that versus Howard?
* The Magic scored 20 second-half points (10 in each quarter), mustering a mere five total field goals after intermission. In fact, Orlando starters contributed just one second-half field goal (Hedo Turkoglu 3-pointer) and were a combined 1-of-13. For the half, the Magic shot a head-shaking 18.5 percent (5-of-27) and committed 15 turnovers.
* Paul Pierce led Boston with seven assists. Is he trying to be a facilitator while he struggles to find his shot?
"I'm just trying to make the right play," Pierce said. "When teams collapse on me, I'm just trying to get the ball to the open shooters, to the open scorers. I have pretty good playmaking ability when you get the ball to me in certain situations, and that's about it. Usually when Rondo's out there I don't have as much ball-handling responsibilities, so now that I have more ball-handling responsibilities, I'm able to make the plays."
* The teams complete the home-and-home Thursday night in Orlando. The Celtics will fly to Florida Tuesday morning and practice there Wednesday. It's a chance for Rivers to squeeze in some time at home during a hectic season.