The dung beetle strikes again! Luol Deng, despite being a professional athlete, has the ball-handling skills of a yam and the turn radius of a Carnival cruise liner. Coach Thibodeau, perhaps operating under the mistaken assumption that all Africans are marathon runners, played the lead-legged Deng for another 40 minutes tonight, his season average. Deng repaid his Coach’s faith in his great stamina by getting no lift on his threes (1-4) and getting outrun by Paul Pierce, a slow man eight years his senior. But Deng’s bad night flew under the radar thanks to the atrocious night Glen Davis put in.
Defense is hard. In the NBA, there’s just no way to take everything off the table for an offense. So you play percentages and try to force bad looks. The best-case scenario for any defense facing the Celtics is a Glen Davis twenty footer. You might think a late-clock Rondo jumper is ideal, but Rondo is shy on the trigger. Not Davis. Tonight he demonstrated beautifully the Dunning-Kruger effect, going 4-17 from the field while Paul Pierce and Ray Allen took 16 and 13 shots, respectively. Davis did not fare well at the rim, either. Going for the layup against Taj Gibson and Omer Asik, Davis looked a little like he was in the barrel of the great wave off Kanagawa. Even Kurt Thomas, who is old enough to remember Karch Kiraly, went all Karch Kiraly on him.
The defensive end was even more brutal for Davis, as Carlos Boozer torched him while Stacey King crowed. “That’s free cheese!” From 7:47 to 5:25 in the 2nd, here’s how that matchup played out:
Carlos Boozer made Layup, Assist Ronnie Brewer
Glen Davis missed Hook Shot
Carlos Boozer made Reverse Layup, Assist Ronnie Brewer
Carlos Boozer made Fadeaway Jump Shot
Illegal pick turnover on Glen Davis
Carlos Boozer made Finger-roll Layup, Assist Kyle Korver
Shooting foul on Glen Davis
Carlos Boozer made Free Throw
Glen Davis missed Jump Shot
At one point Davis’ mother, Tonya, rushed to the sidelines and threw herself at the feet of Celtics head man Doc River. “Take him out,” she implored, “you’re killing the boy!” Rivers removed her hands from the hem of his jacket and said, “He must learn.” Honestly, it was at times difficult to watch; after getting busted in the mouth by Carlos Boozer, a furious Davis returned to the court with red eyes. Sure, anybody’s eyes would water after an elbow to the teeth, but it looked like tears of frustration to me. Rose-related foul trouble for the Celtics bigs meant Davis had to play a game high 43 minutes, which turned from a strategic advantage to public shaming.