2001, a 15 year old Glen “Big Baby” Davis body-slammed the 7-foot-1, 325 pounds Shaquille O’neal on a friendly wrestling match. It was Shaq’s basketball camp on his old campus Louisiana State University and Davis attended that camp. It wasn’t the way to impressed basketball coaches but it was enough to leave a strong impression to Shaq and LSU’s head coach Dale Brown.
6 years later Davis got drafted as the 35th overall pick by Seattle and got traded together with Ray Allen to the Boston Celtics. Many questioned Glen’s 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8 size if he could be effective with the much taller and physical plays of the NBA. Many doubted him when at times he went away from his strengths, not banging his 300 lb body and trying to finesse the ball into the basket with fancy dribbles and shot attempts. But Doc Rivers sees more than Davis’s weaknesses and see more upside on the 24 year old forward…He is a good role player. His wide body sets up screens for Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, he has a developed midrange jump shot, and he plays pretty good defense and most of all he has a big heart…bigger than his 300lb body.
Game 4 in the 2010 NBA finals was a culmination of how “Big baby” has grown into. He was a solid backup player in the 2008 finals and with Leon Powe and PJ Brown out of the roster he became Kevin Garnett’s second stringer. KG struggled this season with injuries and “Big baby” readily step up to the challenge. Now in the NBA finals the big three struggled all series long, When Allen scored 32 big points in game 2 he was 0-13 in game 3 and when KG scored 25 points in game 3 his team still lost the game in the end and Paul Pierce stumbled most of the way with Ron Artest’s defense. The only consistent was their inconsistencies and Davis, Rajon Rondo and Nate Robinson had covered the pot holes and compensate the big three’s short comings.
18 points with half of it in the fourth quarter Davis lead the Celtic’s bench from the Lakers 4 point lead down to two then the Celtics went ahead to 11 points as the starters became cheer leaders in the bench. “Don’t take them out! Don’t take them out!” said Rondo as the whole team cheered for Rasheed Wallace, Nate Robinson, Tony Allen and Davis. Doc was asked if he was surprised about his bench playing well and Rivers said “I’m happy. I don’t know about surprised.” All season long the Celtic’s bench have been the x factor towards their road to the finals. “Whatever it takes to win, and just making sure that I give my teammates positive energy to finish out the game” said Davis.
Big baby has found away to neutralize all those disadvantages, all those frustrations, all those criticism towards him and his play making style… he just have to play and give it all out whenever his coach needs him. At least he doesn’t have to body-slammed anyone to make an impression.
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