Glen Davis made his first career NBA start tonight. Before the game, coach Doc Rivers offered him simple advice and told him to breathe.
Big Baby didn’t listen.
“I thought he was going to die after the first six minutes of the game,” Rivers joked afterwards. “I told him to breathe, and he didn’t. He didn’t listen. But that’s fine. He’s young, and he was excited to start and it’s nice. It’s kind of refreshing to see a guy that excited that he almost passes out running … In the second half he was terrific.”
Davis finished with 16 points and 9 rebounds in 26 minutes. He had 8 points and 6 rebounds in an instrumental third-quarter run to help the Celtics reclaim the lead. His teammates noticed his impact.
“Baby was huge tonight,” said Kevin Garnett. “He kept a lot of balls alive. He makes youthful mistakes but they’re very aggressive mistakes. He communicated, he was loud.”
Davis’s emergence isn’t an accident. The kid has been working.
“He’s coming into his own a little but, but it’s because he’s busting his [butt],” said Garnett. “He’s playing really hard, he’s playing really well in practice. I’ve always told him that if you’re going to be good, you’ve got to have a practice and work ethic. That’s where a lot of things start. I think he’s building that foundation now, so it’s good to see him playing well.”
Davis often appears on the Jumbotron during home games, urging Celtics fans to cheer the team on. His antics have made him a crowd favorite.
“I think it’s his personality,” said Paul Pierce. “Kevin has done a good job taking him under his wing, especially in Rome pulling him aside and talking to him on and off the court. If you’re going to have somebody to look after, or a role model to model yourself after, why not the best power forward in the game?”
Davis credits Garnett’s mentoring for helping him adapt so quickly to the NBA.
“Just being around [Garnett] has helped me tremendously,” said Davis. “Just from the way that he walks or he talks. You adapt to him. You gravitate to him.
“It’s really rare. It’s a blessing. I think about it. I promise you I think about it. I think about [Garnett], Ray, Paul, my team situation I’m in and just what I’ve been through and where I’m at now. It’s a blessing and I appreciate everything.”