By Gethin Coolbaugh
Call him Big Baby, Ticket Stub, Uno Uno, or whatever else you like.
But after last night’s dazzling performance, there’s one thing you can’t call Celtics forward Glen Davis.
Davis scored 18 points and had five rebounds and two steals in 22 and a half minutes to help lead the Celtics to a 96-89 Game 4 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
It has certainly been a roller-coaster season for Davis to say the least. His season began marred by controversy. Controversy, that he created.
While riding in the car of Shawn Bridgewater, a childhood friend, Davis got into an altercation and threw a punch that resulted in a broken right thumb, and ultimately urgery.
The fight resulted in a suspension from Celtics management, but more importantly, caused Davis to miss Boston’s first 27 games.
“I am extremely disappointed that this incident occurred and that it will prevent me from starting the season with the rest of my teammates,” said Davis. “My teammates and the entire Celtics organization are extremely important to me and I will do my best to expedite the healing process and be back on the court as soon as possible.”
At the time, it looked like Davis was headed down a destructive path. But unlike so many of his peers, Davis smartened up and started acting like he belonged on the roster of the 17-time world champions.
Davis finished the season averaging 6.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 54 games.
He had his moments throughout the season, scoring in double-digits 13 times and grabbing six or more rebounds 12 times.
But it wasn’t Davis’ regular season performance that redeemed him, but his performance this postseason.
We all remember Davis’ game-winning shot in Chicago in Game 4 of last season’s first round playoff series. Davis started in place of Kevin Garnett in the 2008-09 playoffs and emerged as one of the league’s best reserves.
In 14 postseason games, all of which he started, Davis scored 221 points, had 79 rebounds, 25 assists and 18 steals.
In that timespan, Davis scored less than 10 points only twice and had more than six rebounds seven times.
He scored over 20 points five times and over 12 points six times. In short, Davis was dominant.
Unfortunately, when Kevin Garnett isn’t in the lineup, you’re chances of winning another title are slim to none.
But this postseason had been different, namely because Garnet is healthy and performing on a nightly basis (for the most part, at least).
Davis’ first big-time game of the 2010 playoffs came in Game 2 of the Celtics opening round series against the Heat. Ironically, it was the game that Davis started following Garnett’s one-game suspension after an altercation with Miami’s Quentin Richardson.
In nearly 30 minutes, Davis scored 23 points and had eight rebounds. He made 7-of-14 field goals and an even more impressive 9-of-11 free throws.
After Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round, Davis next came up big against the Cavaliers in Game 5. He scored 15 points, had four rebounds and made 7-of-10 free throws in the Celtics’ 120-88 win.
Then came his 17-point, six-rebound outing in Boston’s 94-71 win in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Orlando.
While most of Davis’ big nights have come when Garnett was either out of the game, having an off night or in foul trouble, he still deserves a lot of praise.
Hey, someone has to come up big in tough situations, and let’s not forget that, Garnett or not, Davis is still facing the creme de la creme.
Davis’ next solid outing came in the Celtics’ 91-84 loss to the Lakers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, in which he had 12 points and three rebounds.
Of course, that all led up to Davis’ ultimate redemption act in Game 4.
His effort went much further than the box score indicated. By playing exceptionally well at the highest stage, Davis proved that he is one of he NBA’s best role players and that he certainly deserves the championship ring on his finger.
And if he plays like he did last night in any of Boston’s next three games, he may be able to add another ring to his repertoire.
Gethin Coolbaugh is the Associate Editor of Boston Sports U18. He can be reached at 774-279-1995 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit Gethin Coolbaugh’s official website and follow Gethin Coolbaugh on Twitter.
*Quotes from this story were used from the news services of ESPN Boston, which can be read by clicking this link.