Then their gasps became a bellowing groan.
Davis and the Celtics should be relieved that the NBA suspension police haven't got around to penalties for lip-reading, because as the buzzer went off while his 21-foot fallaway jumper went in, he looked up and let his audience know exactly what he felt for them in that particular moment. That reaction may keep him off the slow-motion house ads the NBA puts out during the playoffs, but it's a small price to pay in exchange for the 95-94 win Sunday
"Everyone knows I'm an emotional guy -- y'all seen me crying one time,'' said Davis, referring to the scolding he could not bear from
It's no coincidence that Big is his (parenthetical) middle name. After 6-9, 289-pound Davis averaged 4.5 points as a rookie for the champion Celtics, Doc Rivers told him "to work on two things,'' the coach recalled. "Pushing himself away from the dinner table, and the jump shot.''
His jumper of last year, ironically, was lacking in curve. "It was flat, a line drive,'' said Rivers. "The only change we made was arc.''
Coming off their worst defensive showing of the playoffs in Game 3, the Celtics avoided a 3-1 series deficit by limiting Orlando to 40.0 percent overall and 66 points over the final three quarters. The night began unfavorably for its hero, however, when Davis was benched 46 seconds into the game after drawing a blocking foul against Rashard Lewis. Rivers said it was nothing personal, that he needed to save the remainder of Davis's fouls to be used against Howard (23 points, 17 rebounds and 3 blocks) later in the game.
Davis appreciates Rivers's needs, though he could live without the coach's wisecracks about pushing away from the dinner table. But why fight the obvious. "Some guy before the game (told him), 'Oh, you're 289? I don't believe you. You look like you're 389,''' Davis said. "Everybody jokes about it, but I'm going to play the game of basketball no matter how big I am. If I get smaller, you never know, I might be one of the stars of this league someday.''
Why not? At his current salary of $711,517 -- which Garnett eclipses in two and a half games -- Davis is one of the league's bigger bargains, and more effective than any bailout program, while providing an impressive 15.9 postseason points per game as the starter in place of Garnett and his injured stand-in
His elevation to the starting lineup has left a massive hole in the Celtics bench, which was outscored 31-2 by Orlando. Center
As drawn up by Rivers in the huddle, the first option would be
"We're asking him to do a lot in such a short period of time in the league,'' said Pierce. ``We're asking him to go guard Rashard Lewis, we're asking him to guard Dwight Howard -- the two best players.''
But taking and making a last-second shot that may extend a team's postseason is another thing entirely. A lot of players simply aren't up to it.
"You've got to be focused when you take a shot like that,'' Davis said. "You've got to think without thinking.''
It helps to be big.