Celtics

How Davis re-discovered his rhythm

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How Davis re-discovered his rhythm

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - Glen Davis had enough.

He hung his head and stared at the ground as he searched for answers following Thursdays loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

That night he had followed up a 1-for-5 shooting performance against the Charlotte Bobcats by going 3-for-10 from the field. The Boston Celtics had lost both contests, and Davis had lost his feel for the game.

I dont know. I dont know, he told CSNNE.com as he shook his head, searching for an explanation. I just need to get back in my rhythm. I dont have a good rhythm.

Davis admitted he had been rushing his shots and was not taking enough time on the court. The numbers were reflective of his struggle - he had scored just one field goal in four of his previous ten games, compared to his season average of nearly 12 points.

After garnering consideration for Sixth Man of the Year, Davis was slipping.

Things have just started going downward, he said. Ill find it, though. Ill find my rhythm.

Days later, Davis did just that.

On Sunday he exploded off the bench with 16 points against the Miami Heat. He shot 6-for-11 from the field and clinched an 85-82 win by hitting two free throws with 6.3 seconds left.

His strong showing was the result of a commitment he made to himself following the Lakers game.

That game affected me because I didnt really feel like a force, he told CSNNE.com following the Celtics win. The last couple of games I havent really been a force and playing the way I was playing at the beginning of the year. I need games like this. I need to be in the mix when its big teams like this.

Celtics head coach Doc Rivers credited their bench (which was primarily Davis and Von Wafer, minus five minutes from Nate Robinson and nine seconds from Avery Bradley) for winning the game in the first first half. He deemed Davis and Wafer terrific, a far cry from the self-criticism Davis had been inflicting on himself.

Mentally, I just went out there and said, Im going to be aggressive, he said. The mental mindset has to be different - you have to understand whats up. Its weird, you cant really explain it. Youve kind of got to manifest it, like, Im going to go out there, get the rebound, Im going to shoot. And do it. No matter what happens, you just do it. And thats what I did. When I got the ball the first time, I just put it up.

This wasnt Davis best offensive performance. He missed five field goals, including a fastbreak dunk attempt that came up short. But he kept at it and even used the failed fastbreak as motivation.

"I can't wait to see it on ESPN Not Top 10," he joked. "That was a classic one. I was laughing. I'm glad it happened because it kind of got me going in the game."

When the buzzer sounded, Davis was the Celtics second-leading scorer. It was his highest point total since January 5 against the San Antonio Spurs, when he dropped 23 as a starter.

Only days after hanging his head in disappointment, Davis stood proudly as a key contributor in this highly touted matchup.

The Lakers game was the last straw for me, he said. This whole second half is going to be a different half.

On Sunday he got an early start to it.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Blakely's takeaways: Stevens downplays Celtics' streak

Blakely's takeaways: Stevens downplays Celtics' streak

Brad Stevens likes the fact that the Celtics have shown an unusually strong resolve this season by consistently finding ways to win on nights when they don’t play their best.
 
It’s to the point now where fans, as well as the players, feel no deficit is too steep to overcome.

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That said, there’s a level of expectations on this team now that you would think would bring about a heightened level of pressure, right?
 
They’ve won 16 in a row, the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history.
 
Pressure?
 
Not according to Stevens.
 
“Coaching basketball is not pressure,” Stevens told reporters after Monday night’s win. “Playing basketball is not real pressure. Sometimes we overdo this stuff. We’re just trying to prepare well for the next game. That’s all we’ve done, that’s all we’ll continue to do. The streak doesn’t mean anything to me; maybe it does to the guys in the room. But it’s about finding ways to get better and finding ways to get the job done.”
 
Here are five other takeaways from the 110-102 overtime win at Dallas that extended Boston’s winning streak to 16:


 
MARCUS SMART
There may not be a player on this team – maybe in the NBA – that’s more difficult to get a read on, than Marcus Smart. He has been a historically bad shooter throughout his career in Boston. And yet when you look at their 16-game winning streak, he’s one of the main reasons for it. He plays with an edge; he’s gritty and defends at a level that few can match. He makes big plays in big moments. But he's having his worst season ever shooting the ball yet his impact when he’s on the floor has never been greater. So, what do you do if you’re Stevens? You keep playing him. Because as much as his poor shooting hurts the team’s overall scoring, he makes so many clutch plays whether it’s facilitating, defending or – wait for it – making shots. He adds tremendous value to winning, even if his shooting numbers might suggest otherwise.


 
KYRIE FOR MVP?
When you’re getting “M-V-P! M-V-P!” chants on the road, you know you’re ballin’ hard. Kyrie Irving wowed the Dallas crowd with 47 points, 10 of which came in overtime as Boston rallied after facing a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter. If the numbers continue to climb along with the win total, Irving will continue to cement himself as a top-five MVP candidate. 


 
REBOUNDING
One of the few constants in Boston’s string of success has been their rebounding. Against the Mavericks, the Celtics once again won the battle on the boards, 53-45. And it hasn’t been one or two players, either. Against Dallas, the Celtics had five players grab at least four rebounds with no one securing more than nine. That kind of rebounding balance makes Boston an extremely difficult team to out-work on the glass.
 

AL HORFORD
The scoring punch we’ve come to expect lately from Horford just wasn’t there against Dallas. Instead, he seemed more consumed with getting others (mainly Irving) involved offensively. He missed four of his five shots from the field and scored just three points. But he almost had a double-double in rebounds (eight) and assists (seven) along with blocking a couple of shots. And as always, his plus/minus was among the best on the team with the Celtics being +7 when he was on the floor.
 

FOURTH-QUARTER TATUM
While Irving was delivering one big shot after another down the stretch, one of his running partners in late-game situations this season has been Jayson Tatum. He ranks among the league’s best shooters in the fourth quarter and Monday’s victory only solidified his status. Against the Mavericks, Tatum had six points and was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field. According to NBA.com/stats, Tatum is shooting 64.1 percent in the fourth quarter, which ranks eighth in the NBA among players who take at least two field goal attempts per game in the fourth. Right ahead of him is teammate Marcus Morris (65 percent).

'Resilient' Celtics continue to find ways to win

'Resilient' Celtics continue to find ways to win

We have seen the Boston Celtics play less-than-stellar basketball for long stretches, only to turn it on in the second half and escape with a win.

But Monday night’s game at Dallas was different.

Usually it has been Boston’s offense that has kept the game closer than expected, but on Monday it was the team’s defense that struggled more than usual.

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But this team continues to show an ability to withstand all in-game struggles to eventually emerge victorious which was exactly what happened as the Celtics rallied from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to knock off the Mavericks 110-102 in overtime.

The Celtics (16-2) have now won 16 in a row which ties the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history.

But this win, like so many of its predecessors during this historic run, was not one to celebrate afterwards.

“Quite a resilient comeback in the fourth,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “Not our best foot forward before that. Of all the comebacks, that did not look good for a long time. We found a way to win it.”

Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 47 points, 10 of which came in the overtime period.

But his performance was just one of many Boston needed to extend its winning streak.

“In a game like this, you have to do whatever it takes, both ends of the floor,” Boston’s Jayson Tatum told reporters afterwards.

And he did just that.

In the final seconds of the fourth quarter, Tatum’s defense forced a Harrison Barnes miss that would have won the game for Dallas.

And in the fourth quarter, Tatum’s rebounding was critical to Boston (16-2) extending its stay atop the NBA standings.

The 6-foot-8 rookie had a near double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds, with four of his boards coming in overtime.

Boston also got another strong game from Jaylen Brown (22 points, nine rebounds) and Marcus Smart, whose shooting was well off the mark most of the night (3-for-15) but like he has done too many times to count, Smart managed to make a positive impact on the game.

He led the Celtics with eight assists off the bench, in addition to a slew of hustle plays that included a desperation save of a ball going out of bounds that managed to find its way into the hands of Kyrie Irving, who drained a much-needed 3-pointer late in the game.

“Those are worth more than whatever the shot goes in,” Stevens said. “That’s why it’s hard to quantify Marcus Smart.”

The same can be said about Boston’s winning streak, which has come about despite several stretches, every game seemingly, where the Celtics struggle.

But to their credit, they don’t allow the in-game setbacks take away from their focus night-in and night-out and that’s to find a way, any way possible, to emerge with a victory.

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