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Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Boston Celtics charge contest is underway

By Zach Harper

After many NBA practices you’ll often see a couple of players engaging in shooting contests. I usually assume there is a friendly wager on the line – and by friendly, I mean there’s probably a good chunk of change to be had.

But how often do you hear about a competition among teammates involving who can take the most charges in actual games during the season?

That is what’s happening on the Boston Celtics between Glen Davis and Jermaine O’Neal. Chris Forsberg from ESPN Boston shares this story from Tuesday’s contest between the Celtics and 76ers:
Standing next to each other on one side of the paint, Boston Celtics teammates Jermaine O'Neal and Glen Davis saw, at precisely the same moment, a Sixers ball-handler ready to drive from the opposite baseline.

Like two shoppers racing for a must-have Christmas gift on Black Friday, the two practically pushed each other out of the way trying to scramble over and draw an offensive foul.

In a way, it seemed appropriate. These two figure to be pushing each other to take charges all season long.

"It's a contest this year: Who can draw the most charges," O'Neal said after the game with a big grin. "And I believe I'm going to win it."

This isn’t some revolutionary contest by any means. It’s probably gone on as long as basketball and betting have been incognito friends. However, I like to see stuff like this mentioned publicly. It sends a good message. Give yourself up for the team – and your pocket book – right?

The cool thing about this contest is it shows just how committed the Celtics are to doing the little things to win. We’re going to see a lot of teams this season just not understanding this is the type of thing championship teams do. They sacrifice and give themselves up for the greater good.

It also gives us something to keep track of this season. Let’s look at the tail of the tape (with an assist from HoopData):

- In 2008-09 and 2009-10, Jermaine O’Neal took 44 and 31 charges, respectively. He logged roughly 2,000 minutes in each of those seasons.

- Glen Davis took 33 and 20 charges, respectively. In 2008-09, Davis played over 1,600 minutes. Last season, he was limited to 54 regular-season games and 933 minutes but was on pace for about 26 charges if he played as many games (70) as O’Neal did.

Looking ahead to this season, Jermaine seems to be the early favorite. His defense has been pretty good in the preseason so far and he’s probably inline to get the bulk of the minutes with Kendrick Perkins being out for quite a while. Davis on the other hand is still struggling to find a consistent role with the team and will probably see peaks and valleys with his playing time.

If I had to choose a winner straight up, I’d definitely go with Jermaine. But considering this is wagering (whether friendly or monetarily), there has to be some sort of odds or handicapping involved. If odds or a charge curve of some sort are given to Big Baby, I’m taking Shrek in this contest.