Print and Go Back ESPN.com: TrueHoop [Print without images]

Monday, May 11, 2009
Glen Davis' Sweet Spot


Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy blames himself for the Magic's loss. Orlando left Boston's Glen Davis pretty darned open in the closing seconds -- in favor of making certain that Paul Pierce didn't get the shot he wanted.

I'd say that's a fair trade.

Glenn Davis
Glen Davis' shooting is suspect. But less so from the left side.
(Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

When the ball was in the air, coming off the fingertips of a Big Baby standing just inside the 3-point line, the whole enterprise felt like a Celtic experiment. A player who never normally shoots with the game on the line. A big man away from the hoop. And, even though his girlfriend convinced him to do some extra practicing on his jump shot on Saturday, someone whose jumper has long been the most questionable part of his game.

According to NBA.com's hot spots feature, during the regular season this year Davis took 249 shots that were not at the hoop. He missed 154 of them, to finish a dismal 38% shooting from any kind of distance at all. 

If you're Stan Van Gundy, watching the ball come off Davis' fingertips, that might have felt a little like the Celtics had just a 38% chance of winning the game, which would normally be viewed as a good sign for Orlando. 

But the ball splashed in, and the Celtics changed everything by tying the series.

It's worth pointing out that even though Davis is essentially an abysmal shooter from every spot that isn't at the rim, there is one exception: long 2s from the left side. From that particular area, he made 23 of 45 shots this season -- to make him a 51% shooter. That's 17% better than his rate of all other longer shots.

That's the only part of the floor where Davis's jump shots are, in fact, likely to go in

Is it a coincidence that he shot the game-winner from precisely there? 

Not likely.

UPDATE: Dwight Howard on his blog: "That was an absolute dagger of a shot that Big Baby drilled on us, but I just had to sort of chuckle about it. I mean, that shot maybe goes in one out of five times and he beats us with it."