NBA Playoffs: Celtics, Magic all tied up
BOSTON ó Glen “Big Baby” Davis wasn’t the Celtics’ first choice to take the last shot in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Orlando.
But he turned out to be a pretty good choice.
Davis hit a buzzer-beater to give the Celtics a 95-94 victory over the Magic on Sunday night and tie the best-of-seven series at two games apiece. The series resumes in Boston with Game 5, and a victory tonight would preserve the home-court advantage for coach Doc Rivers and the defending NBA champions.
“Since I have been with the Celtics, I have been trying to fine my niche in our system,” Davis said. “Doc told me that if you work on that shot and show me you can make it, I am going to let you shoot it. This year has been proof of hard work. You just have to be focused.”
Celtics center Kendrick Perkins reported no ill effects of the left shoulder strain he complained about during Sunday night’s game. Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said Perkins was on the team plane and there was no further testing planned.
Perkins had a similar injury during the NBA finals last year, missing Game 5 against the Los Angeles Lakers and playing less than 14 minutes in three other games.
Even though Rivers now trusts Davis to take the big shots, the play wasn’t drawn up for the 6-foot-9, 289-pound, second-year center from Louisiana State.
The ball was first supposed to go to Ray Allen, the All-Star who scored 51 points in a game against Chicago and has the most 3-pointers in the playoffs this season. If Allen wasn’t open, NBA finals MVP Paul Pierce was supposed to be the consolation prize. Eddie House, who burned the Magic with 31 points off the bench in Game 2, was also on the floor.
Allen was covered tightly by Hedo Turkoglu, so point guard Rajon Rondo swung the ball over to Pierce, who was well-covered by Rashard Lewis. Pierce dribbled toward the center of the court looking for a shot, and Davis came over and set a pick on Lewis, who briefly left Davis to double-team Pierce.
While Lewis was caught in the middle, Pierce jumped and ó instead of trying to shoot over Lewis and Dwight Howard ó passed the ball over to Davis near the Magic logo on the left side. He calmly sank the 21-footer as time expired.
“We have a saying: ‘Trust the pass,”‘ Rivers said. “Our best player trusted the pass. He may have had a shot but (Lewis) was in his face. Baby was open. He trusted the offense. He trusted the pass. That was great.”
Howard knows it will be tough to win in Boston.
“They’re the champions. They protect home court well,” Howard said. “We have to go in there with a great mind-set, start to finish it has to be the same. We know they’re going to come out and try to knock us out in the first couple of minutes. We have to withstand all their blows.”
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