Friday, December 10, 2010
Big Baby's big plays
By Chris Forsberg
Lost somewhat in the hysteria surrounding Kevin Garnett's game-winning alley-oop layup and the fact that the 76ers somehow lost track of Ray Allen for a pivotal 3-pointer with little more than a minute to play in Boston's 102-101 triumph Thursday night in Philadelphia, was two outstanding plays by Glen Davis in that final 65 seconds to set up both heroics.
The first play (embedded above) came with the Celtics down two with little more than a minute to go. Paul Piece and Rajon Rondo couldn't get a pick-and-roll to develop, forcing Pierce to improvise and drive. When Pierce found traffic near the basket, he tried to kick the ball back out to the top of the key where Rondo was open, but Davis inadvertently intercepted the pass (thinking it's for him). It turned out to be fortuitous as both teams are left scrambling. Knowing the shot clock was ticking down, Davis tried to get rid of the ball, especially when Jrue Holiday joined Elton Brand for a double team above the foul line. Jodie Meeks got caught sneaking over anticipating a steal of a potential pass to Rondo (which Davis nearly attempted before spotting Meeks), leaving Allen wide open when Davis delivered the pass. (The incredulous-ness on Allen's face after hitting the 3-pointer tells the whole story).
After Andre Iguodala scored in traffic to put the 76ers back on top by a point on the next possession, Davis hit a crucial 11-footer to keep the late-game seesaw in motion (embedded below). On that play, Rondo drove to the rim and Thaddeus Young left Davis alone about 15 feet from the rim on the baseline to help. Rondo wrapped a nice feed around to Davis, who was swarmed by Holiday on help defense, but Davis actually stepped up (even as Young recovered) and drained the clutch jumper for a 100-99 lead with 27.4 seconds to go.
Iguodala answered. Garnett did, too, and the Celtics emerged with what Celtics coach Doc Rivers called a gutsy win, heaping praise on Davis' late-game efforts.
"Baby made a big shot in the corner and he made a crucial next pass to Ray," said Rivers. "The fact that he made the next pass to Ray, that's a no-brainer, you should throw it to Ray, but the fact that he did was great, so we trust each other."