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Celtics notebook

Backtalk is not cheap for Davis

He’s fined $25,000 for Detroit incident

By Gary Washburn
Globe Staff / January 22, 2010

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The NBA delivered the final statement of the Glen Davis/Detroit fan incident, slapping the Celtics forward with a $25,000 fine for yelling an expletive in retaliation to heckling in the second quarter of Wednesday’s 92-86 loss to the Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

During an injury timeout for Detroit’s Chucky Atkins, the fan, Scott Zack, yelled “fat boy’’ at Davis, who was leaning against the scorer’s table. Davis stared back at Zack, who was sitting in the first row of the lower bowl, and yelled an obscene statement that could be heard in the entire section behind the Celtics bench.

Because of the infamous Brawl at the Place in November 2004, security at the site is especially sensitive to interaction between players and fans. Zack was approached by NBA security and filed a complaint at halftime. He continued with his heckling, calling Davis “chubs,’’ but Davis did not respond further and also did not talk with reporters after the game.

Davis apologized for his statements on his Twitter page and then received a flood of support from his followers yesterday.

It is the second time Davis has been fined this season. He was docked an undisclosed amount by the Celtics for the circumstances surrounding his broken right thumb, which was sustained in a fight with a childhood friend.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers did not take the heckling incident lightly following the game.

“I tell our guys all the time, if you lose a game, they have the right to yell, say whatever they want, and you have to be strong enough to walk away,’’ Rivers said.

During an appearance on WEEI radio yesterday morning, Rivers said, “We’ve been taught you have to take it and you have to keep playing. I don’t think it’s a huge step backwards [for Davis], but it is a step backwards, and Glen Davis has to grow up.’’

Third-quarter blues
Unless Kevin Garnett is returning tonight with a new halftime regimen along with his healthier right knee, the Celtics still have to address their second-half struggles, which have become a major concern for a team struggling to maintain its confidence.

The Celtics lost 6 of 10 games while Garnett was out, and the key to their struggles has been the third quarter. In those 10 games, they were outscored in the third quarter seven times, including a combined 55-31 in losses to Dallas and Detroit.

The Celtics are coming out flat after halftime. On Monday, they owned a 9-point halftime lead over the Mavericks and were outscored, 34-18; on Wednesday, they led Detroit, 56-48, but were outscored, 21-13.

Earlier in the season, the Celtics would step on the necks of their opponents in the second half, but now they are allowing opponents to gain confidence, and they lack enough steam to retake control of games.

The Mavericks were coming off a 22-point loss at Toronto the day before playing Boston, while the Pistons had lost to the Knicks two days earlier.

“When we get back out on the floor, we have to pump that energy up,’’ guard Ray Allen said. “We have to get back into the game. We just have to be more conscious of making plays for each other on both ends of the floor. Don’t be too locked into who I am guarding, just having better awareness.’’

In their 13 losses, the Celtics have been outscored in the third quarter 10 times.

“It’s focus and concentration out there,’’ said Paul Pierce. “We turn the ball over the third quarter, our offense struggled. It’s all about our concentration, and we need to focus on that coming out in the third quarter. We can’t be satisfied with a halftime lead.’’

Gary Washburn can be reached at gwashburn@globe.com.

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