Rivers still a believer
He’s standing by struggling Davis
WALTHAM — There was only one Celtic who logged more than a minute in Saturday night’s 97-81 Game 3 win over the Heat without scoring.
Glen Davis played 11 minutes, was 0 for 1 from the field, and had four rebounds.
Typically the postseason is when Davis has some of his more memorable performances. Last year, Davis and Nate Robinson soaked up the limelight after an impressive performance off the bench in Game 4 of the NBA Finals and jokingly said their friendship was like “Shrek and Donkey.’’
The energy and numbers Davis produced in last season’s playoffs and in this regular season are what coach Doc Rivers hoped to see out of his fourth-year forward during this playoff run. But Davis isn’t living up to Rivers’s expectations.
“Not right now,’’ Rivers said. “But I believe he will. I don’t ever lose faith and I keep throwing him out there and I’m going to keep throwing him out there. He has to play better. And it’s not about scoring for him. It’s about rebounding. It’s about taking charges. He’s been our energy guy. That’s what he is and when he gets caught into thinking offense, I think that affects his game. We’ll free his mind eventually, and I think the sooner the better.’’
Davis is averaging 7.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in his postseason career. But the Celtics were expecting more out of their sixth man, who was fourth in scoring on the team at the end of the regular season, averaging 11.7 points.
In the first two rounds, Davis is averaging 4.9 points a game and hitting 40 percent of his shots from the field.
“I’ve got to play better, point blank,’’ Davis said.
In Game 3, Davis struggled against Joel Anthony, who was providing a spark for the Heat and collected 12 points and a team-leading 11 rebounds.
“We’re a helper-type team and I’m helping somebody else,’’ Davis said. “When a guy is active like that you have to focus on him. You can’t worry about helping anybody else. I’ve got to do a better job.’’
When it comes to Rivers’s expectations, the forward said he understands and isn’t frustrated by his struggles.
“I’ve proved myself,’’ said Davis. “I don’t have to prove myself again. I just have to play. I know what I can do. It’s just about going out there and doing it.’’
Help wanted The Celtics could use a couple of extra point guards these days. While the team waits for the prognosis on Rajon Rondo and his dislocated elbow, it also is monitoring Delonte West’s bruised shoulder. Both had MRIs yesterday but Rivers said it may come down to game time tonight before he knows just how much either can play.
“I’m optimistic about both that they’re going to play,’’ Rivers said. “I don’t know why I am, but I am. I just don’t know how well either one can play . . . but if they’re on the floor, we’re healthy. That’s been our motto since I’ve been here and our guys believe that.’’
This is just the latest in a slew of injuries for West. He broke his wrist earlier in the season and later battled ankle trouble, all of which limited his appearances. West played 25 minutes in Game 3, primarily because of Rondo’s injury. He was praised for coming in and preventing the Heat from making much of a run during Rondo’s absence in the third quarter.
If West is able to play tonight, Rivers said, “I think it will come down to what he can tolerate.’’
The third option at the point is Carlos Arroyo, but he hasn’t logged any postseason minutes. Arroyo was with the Heat the last two seasons before being released in March.
“It helps that he knows their stuff, but knowing our stuff is really important as well, and he’s been here long enough that he knows that, so it’s good,’’ Rivers said.
Pause for thought Even hours after the play, Rivers paused film of Game 3 just before Rondo dislocated his elbow in an awkward fall. The coach said he still couldn’t make himself watch the injury. However, he did watch how Rondo got tangled up with Dwyane Wade and said he didn’t think the Heat guard meant to injure Rondo. “I watched that part of it and I stopped at the end,’’ Rivers said. “I don’t know if it was a hard foul. Let’s put it like this: He didn’t intend to hurt Rondo. I don’t honestly believe that 99 percent of cases in our league that the player ever intends to hurt anybody but he did. It just happens.’’ . . . Shaquille O’Neal (right Achilles’, calf) played eight minutes in Game 3, his most since February. But a day after O’Neal scored 2 points in his 2011 postseason debut, Rivers said the veteran center experienced the usual ailments, but will be day to day. “He has typical swelling,’’ Rivers said. “I think he’s just going to have that the rest of this year.’’ . . . The consecutive stretch of minutes Kevin Garnett logged in the third quarter Saturday night was more of a gamble than calculated plan, Rivers said. Garnett ended up with 28 points, converting 13 of 20 shots and grabbing a game-high 18 rebounds. While Davis struggled, Rivers said with Rondo being out, Ray Allen being in foul trouble, and Paul Pierce facing double-teams, it was easiest just to leave Garnett in the game. “It wasn’t anything to do with Glen, but more to do with Kevin was just rolling,’’ Rivers said. “The decision was almost made by the situation.’’ Garnett played 38 minutes, including the entire third quarter.
Monique Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.