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Celtics Notebook

This ‘Baby’ talk not cute or cuddly

Davis swears at heckling fan

By Gary Washburn and Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / January 21, 2010

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Perhaps if you were watching last night’s Celtics-Pistons game on television or listening on the radio, you heard an expletive yelled out. That was Boston’s Glen “Big Baby’’ Davis shouting at a Detroit fan who kept calling him “fat boy’’ during the first half.

Davis’s graphic remark stunned fans sitting behind the Celtics’ bench. The fan, Scott Zack, was warned by arena security about his heckling but was determined to press the issue about Davis’s remark. Zack said he filed a complaint with NBA security.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers expressed disappointment in Davis, and it’s not the first time this season the player has been in some trouble with his coach.

“[If he said something back], then shame on Glen,’’ Rivers said. “To the victors go the spoils. I tell our guys all the time, you lose a game they have every right to yell, say whatever they want and you’ve got to be strong enough to walk away. So that’s not the fan’s fault, no matter what he said. We know about it. We’ve got to walk off the floor. So if that happened, then shame on Glen Davis.’’

Rivers, and others in management, also voiced their disappointment when Davis broke his right thumb fighting with a childhood friend two days before the season opener.

Wallace returns
With his return to the town where he spent six of his best years as a pro, it felt like Rasheed Wallace Appreciation Night. Not even a $35,000 fine could rain on Wallace’s appearance. And though the crowd at the Palace of Auburn Hills was sparse, the welcome was warm for a player who helped bring the Pistons a title in 2004.

Detroit coach John Kuester, who was an assistant under Larry Brown that championship season, recalled how much Wallace wanted to win a title upon his arrival.

“He was hungry,’’ Kuester said. “When we got him as part of the trade, he was hungry to win a championship. He was a big part of why we made the push to be the best team in the East and the best team in the NBA.

“I remember it specifically. I was walking the hallway toward my office and Larry Brown and [president of basketball operations] Joe Dumars were right next to each other and Larry Brown says to me, ‘We just got Rasheed Wallace in a trade.’ I said, ‘You just got yourself a chance to win a championship.’ ’’

With many having a negative perception of Wallace - the latest rap coming yesterday when the league fined him $35,000 for criticizing officials after a 99-90 loss to Dallas Monday - some may have expected him to get a mixed reaction last night.

But Rivers knew Wallace would be well-received.

“He left as a free agent,’’ Rivers said. “He didn’t leave wanting to leave. He had a great run here. You can’t argue with what they’ve done. They won a championship. Had a chance at two or three other ones. The deal that Joe made to get Rasheed turned the table for the Pistons.’’

On Tuesday night, Wallace got together with old teammates for dinner and to reminisce.

“The people who played with him appreciate it, they definitely do,’’ said Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince. “A lot of people see what he does from the outside but they’ll never understand the real Rasheed Wallace.

“But the guys who played with him - you could ask the guys on the Celtics right now - they see what we did. They know what type of character he has. He cares about each and every individual person in the locker room.’’

The fine was Wallace’s second of the season, but the Pistons know as much as anyone that speaking freely is a part of the package with him.

“He’s Rasheed,’’ said Pistons forward Jason Maxiell. “He’s always going to be 100 percent truthful and 100 percent honest about everything that’s on his mind and he’s going to say it.’’

Wallace had 16 points and seven rebounds in 39 minutes in the Celtics’ 92-86 loss.

Concern for Calhoun
In the Celtics’ Ray Allen and the Pistons’ Ben Gordon, Richard Hamilton, and Charlie Villanueva, there were four former University of Connecticut stars at the Palace, and with news that Huskies coach Jim Calhoun had taken a medical leave of absence, his former players expressed their concern and support.

“He probably needs rest,’’ said Allen, who called UConn associate head coach George Blaney to check on Calhoun. “They don’t have any great fear that anything is wrong other than him needing to pull back a little bit before something does go wrong. He’s already been through a lot these last two years. His physician is probably telling him to relax.

“I know his stress level and how much he puts on his shoulders. For him to be able to go through what he goes through . . . when he goes through tough seasons, you know it’s going to wear on him. He just always has to know that he’s got to share that burden between his players and his coaches.’’

Said Gordon, who won a national championship with UConn in 2004, “I’m definitely going to check on him to see what’s going on. I don’t even know what the issue was but I’ll see what’s going on and wish him the best.’’

Like night and day
After a spot start Monday in place of Hamilton (stomach ailment), Austin Daye, son of former Celtic Darren Daye, was back on the bench last night. Taken with the 15th pick in last year’s draft, the former Gonzaga star came in averaging 5.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game. “It’s been an adjustment,’’ said the 6-foot-11-inch, 200-pound Daye. “I knew coming in I wasn’t going to play a whole lot. I was hoping I would get some here-or-there minutes. Now, I started the last game. I’m probably not going to play a lot in the next couple weeks [with several players returning to the lineup], but I have been playing a lot. When guys come back, I can stay ready.’’ . . . Pistons owner Karen Davidson said the option of selling the franchise is being explored. Davidson’s husband, Bill, died last year. He was in charge when the Pistons won titles in 1989, 1990, and 2004, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Forbes last month valued the Pistons at $479 million.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report; Julian Benbow can be reached at jbenbow@globe.com.

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