Kendrick Perkins is out until at least January. Shaquille O’Neal is limited to light workouts and interrupting the press conferences of his teammates with funny faces. That leaves Jermaine O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis, and Semih Erden as active, participating big men for Doc RIvers’s squad.
O’Neal slowed offensively tonight but still finished with 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. Davis played 33 minutes and finished with 14 points. Both players fouled out. Both players made their presence felt on the defensive end, taking charges and making things difficult for the Bucks.
With Davis and O’Neal in foul trouble, Erden put in six minutes. But Rivers chose to go away from Erden in crunch time, playing Marquis Daniels in the post down the stretch.
“Well, they’re going to foul out, the way the game — it was going to happen,” Rivers said of Davis and O’Neal. ” I told our coaches that with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. I didn’t think we were going to make it through that. And we had already decided to go with Marquis (Daniels) and put Paul at the four. I was actually going to do that at another point in the game anyway. And it worked.”
Daniels played 19 minutes and missed his only attempt from the floor, but he clogged passing lanes and was generally disruptive on defense despite the size disadvantage.
— Garnett had this to say about the day that started with criticism of his trash talk and ended with an emotional performance in a Celtics win:
”I wouldn’t say [I flipped] a switch, but it was a disgruntled game,” said Garnett. “Absolutely, the energy, I felt I needed it to take a step up and energize everyone on the floor. I didn’t sit down, and during the times I was out I was active. I was talkative.”