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Celtics notebook

Rivers says Davis’s role as main shooter not open for debate

By Gary Washburn
Globe Staff / January 9, 2011

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CHICAGO — Before last night’s game with Chicago, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he had no issue with Glen Davis’s volume of shots in recent weeks.

After last night’s 90-79 loss to the Bulls, a game in which Davis missed 13 of 17 shots, Rivers had a problem. For the 13th time in the past 17 games, Davis attempted 10 or more shots and last night he launched more than Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

Davis logged 43 tiring minutes against rugged Carlos Boozier and was left open repeatedly by Boozer’s poor defense and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau’s strategy. And he continuously missed those open jumpers, but that didn’t stop him from pumping out more.

“Some of our shots they were taken when no one thought the shot was going to go up,’’ Rivers said. “Ray Allen had no shots in the fourth quarter, Paul Pierce had one. When that happens we really should not win the game.

“We gotta shorten Baby’s minutes, No. 1, and we got to get him to be more of a pick-setter. Right now he’s more of a shooter. He’s got to get back to setting picks. Over the last five or six games, I think Glen Davis is actually leading in shot attempts. I love him, but that should never happen.’’

Prior to the game, Rivers said he encourages Davis to shoot when open. Davis took a season-high 18 shots during Wednesday’s win over San Antonio and has averaged 14.3 per game since taking over for the injured Kevin Garnett in the starting lineup.

“As long as they’re good shots [I’m not concerned],’’ Rivers said before the game. “On our team, they’re going to have to leave someone open. They’re leaving him open a lot. I’m concerned when it’s outside of his range a little bit and when he’s trying to get it off the dribble. And if they’re going to give him that 14- or 15-foot jump shot, he should take it. He shouldn’t hesitate.’’

Tough homecoming Luke Harangody considers Chicago his home and the Schererville, Ill., native took jumpers on the United Center floor with a little more confidence. He has been relegated to spot duty and a handful of DNP-coach’s decisions, but Harangody responded Friday night with a career game of 17 points and 11 rebounds against Toronto.

But his homecoming wasn’t so sweet.

He went scoreless in 13 minutes, 28 seconds with two rebounds.

The glory from his career-best game was shortlived.

“The thing is you have to look around the locker room and see how many great players are here,’’ he said. “You have to have patience. I gotta go with the team because of the amount of information I’m learning every day.

“[Garnett] has been great with me, very patient, willing to take me aside at times. He doesn’t have to do that, he’s been in the league 15 years. He doesn’t have to help a rookie out. That’s the kind of team we have.’’

Rivers said Harangody’s role won’t change but he did increase his cachet with the team by producing in a pivotal stretch.

“I think he has figured out, at least on this team that if you run to an open spot, our team will give you the ball,’’ Rivers said.

“And Luke is not shy. So if he gets a shot, he’s going to take it, and that’s what we want him to do. There’s time he just goes too fast, but that’s every rookie I’ve known for the most part.’’

Jermaine O’Neal plays Jermaine O’Neal dispelled rumors that he reinjured his left knee or needs time off, playing 12 minutes last night with 6 points. He said he sat out the second half Friday because the Celtics had a significant lead over the Raptors and it was the first game of a back-to-back. O’Neal said the knee, which caused him to miss six weeks, is sore but that is customary with increased action . . . Garnett made the trip to Chicago along with Kendrick Perkins and could return to the lineup tomorrow against Houston . . . The Bulls were without Joakim Noah because of a torn ligament in his right hand.

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