Posts Tagged ‘Big Baby Davis’

Nelson Committed To Helping Young Magic

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DALLAS – The more change that comes to the Orlando Magic, the more Jameer Nelson remains true to himself, and devoted to his team.

Few would have blamed Nelson for becoming bitter over the Magic’s rapid descent. A survivor of the Dwightmare that cost the franchise its coach, the league’s most dominant center and its standing as an Eastern Conference contender, Nelson could have, without guilt or repercussion, forced his way out of this Orlando rebuild that enters Year 2.

Entering his 10th season, matching Nick Anderson as the longest-tenured player in Magic history, Nelson chose otherwise.

“It’s fun,” Nelson said prior to Monday’s preseason win against the Mavericks. “It’s fun to see the way things progress, where we’re trying to take the franchise and rebuild and do things with a young group. Me coming in 10 years ago, it was kind of the same scenario.”

Nelson finds himself surrounded by a young team beginning to create a bit of a buzz with players such as Moe Harkless, Tobias Harris, Nicola Vucevic and the summer’s No. 2 pick, Victor Oladipo in the fold. The Magic’s top prospect is an exciting player Nelson is eager to mentor while knowing Oladipo could ultimately replace him.

“He’s humble and he’s very talented,” Nelson said of the Indiana product. “He has great upside and I think he’ll be a great player in the league for a long time.”

Nelson took Monday night’s game off and watched an Orlando starting five that boasted six seasons, 358 games and 199 starts among them. Nelson has started 488 of his 583 career games.

The Magic could have, maybe should have, cut ties with him prior to last season. He’s now four years removed from his lone All-Star appearance and has been injury-prone, playing more than 70 games just once since 2006-07. At 31, Nelson has likely reached his peak. Orlando signed him to a three-year extension last summer, raising eyebrows around a league that asked what good Nelson could do for a franchise committed to its youth.

“I’m not a guy looking for accolades. I’m not a guy looking for publicity or notoriety,” Nelson said. “My job is to do my work on the court and off the court in the community and be the person I’ve been for the last 31 years. There’s a reason why I’ve been here for 10 years, a reason why the organization has kept me around.”

Still, Nelson isn’t naive. He knows he’s on the block this season and likely will be playing elsewhere before the February trade deadline as second-year general manager Rob Hennigan, who’s the same age as Nelson, marches onward with his post-Dwight blueprint. The 6-foot point guard could help a contender as a steady reserve, or slide into the starting role for a team needing a veteran in charge. Though neither seems to be what Nelson truly desires.

“I still want to play here in Orlando and see this thing turn around,” Nelson said.

He certainly witnessed it implode. The Magic played in the 2009 Finals and were in the 2010 East finals. By the end of 2013, they had a league-worst 62 losses.

“Just weird,” is how Nelson described the past few seasons through the Dwightmare haze and beyond. “We competed for a championship for four or five years in a row. We were one of the elite teams, so to see where I’m at now in terms of rebuilding, you know, it’s still fun. I’m doing something I love to do, I’m around a bunch of guys who are great, young guys. We don’t have any knuckleheads, we don’t have any guys who cause any problems. Everybody wants to be the best player they can be and wants to learn.”

Teaching and preaching is what Nelson is doing for this squad of early 20-somethings … and for his appreciative, 38-year-old, second-year coach, Jacque Vaughn.

“Since I’ve been here, he’s been a guy that I’ve been able to count on to carry my message in the locker room,” Vaughn said. “And that’s extremely important when young guys are doing this for the first time around. He’s been a leader for us and someone I can count on.”

Nelson passed on a question about his feelings toward Howard. He said he followed the big man’s free agency this summer: “How couldn’t you? You turn on the TV, he was everywhere.” He even said Howard made the right choice by leaving the Lakers and signing with the Houston Rockets because, ironically, “they have a similar system that we played with (former coach) Stan [Van Gundy].”

So how much progress can the Magic make this season? Even in an Eastern Conference that will provide playoff opportunity for an upstart, there’s little doubt this will be an ongoing struggle. And more upheaval is likely with Nelson, Arron Afflalo and Glen “Big Baby” Davis all available for the right price.

Nelson said he’ll keep pushing as long as the Magic let him.

“My job is to continue to be professional whether we win or lose and move forward,” Nelson said. “We’re trying to help these guys develop as much as we can and, with that being said, a lot of them look up to me.”

Big Baby Turns It Up (Video)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Take that Usher, Chris Brown, Justin Beiber and all you other famous entertainers who think you’ve corned the market on club music.

Orlando Magic power forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis has his own theme music this season. He’s gets the party started with his soon-to-be-hit, the aptly titled “Big Baby Gon’ Turn It Up” … (he might need a little help making the video, but the song itself isn’t half bad, thanks to whoever was working the board in the studio):

 

Shaqtin’ A Fool: Episode 4


The foolishness continues this week as Shaq had a wealth of plays to choose from. DeSagana Diop, Hedo Turkoglu, Corey Brewer, Big Baby Davis and Kendrick Perkins are this week’s nominees for the Foolish Hall of Fame. Vote for your favorite Shaqtin’ A Fool moment!

Rivers: Celtics Need To Man Up

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These are trying times for the Celtics, whose main purpose tonight is to make the Mavericks, who visit the Garden (8 ET, ESPN), look older than they are.

They had high hopes this season for Jeff Green, who came in the controversial Kendrick Perkins trade, only to see Green diagnosed with an aeortic aneurysm during a routine physical. He’s gone for the season following surgery. They lost out on David West when the free agent chose the Pacers instead, which was a slap in the face for a proud Boston franchise. Paul Pierce missed the first few games of the season, which the Celtics opened by losing three straight. And while the Celtics peeled off a four-game winning streak, they fattened up on sweets, beating the Wizards twice, along with the Nets and Pistons.

And now we’ll see what a team that starts 50-year-old Jermaine O’Neal is made of, because the Celtics get the Mavericks, then the Bulls, then travel to Indiana before returning for Oklahoma City. Either the Celtics will show the grit of a veteran team, or watch the young Sixers continue their threatened takeover in the Atlantic Division.

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Celtics, Rondo Back In Business

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – It’s good to see this Rajon Rondo again.

It might not be for the rest of the NBA, but for those of us that enjoy virtuoso performances from one of the league’s feistiest competitors, it’s good to see the Rondo we marveled at earlier this season back in action on the big stage.

Just ask the Spurs how wicked things can be when you’re on the receiving end of Rondo’s jabs all night. He took them apart last night with a nearly flawless performance — 22 points, 14 assists, five rebounds and 0 turnovers.

On a night when Tim Duncan returned from a four-game injury absence, he looked good with 20 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks, it was the return to form of Rondo that stuck out, thanks to a little urging from his teammates, who jumped him several times after defensive lapses on Tony Parker led to easy baskets for the Spurs.

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Did You See What We Saw?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Before we get to that spectacle of a game in Cleveland tonight, take a walk with us.

The Hang Time crew had eyeballs on every game on the schedule,  just as we always do, especially on a Wednesday night.

So the only question left to ask you is, Did You See What We Saw?

Check out our rundown of the all 12 games and let us know if you agree or disagree:

ATLANTA 112, MEMPHIS 109

Looking good: Who says the Hawks can’t survive without Joe Johnson, who is out 4 to 6 weeks with an elbow injury that will require a surgical procedure from Dr. James Andrews to fix the problem? They did just fine without him in this win over the Hang Time Grizzlies. The Hawks piled up a season-high 33 assists (on 42 made field goals) without Johnson in the mix. It’s the best Larry Drew‘s movement-based offense has looked this season.

Sound the Alarm: Whatever experiment our Grizzlies are conducting at shooting guard needs to stop. Rookie Xavier Henry got the start against the Hawks and O.J. Mayo finished with 10 points off the bench. But their combined work didn’t come close to matching the 25 points and 10 assists the Hawks got from Mo Evans and Jamal Crawford.

HT’s Take: All that chatter about Jeff Teague snatching Mike Bibby‘s starting job has vanished in just one month of the season. Bibby was clutch in the win over the Grizzlies, nailing four of his five shots from beyond the 3-point line. Without Johnson for the next month or so, the Hawks are going to need more big games from Bibby, Crawford, Evans, Teague and rookie Jordan Crawford.

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OKLAHOMA CITY 123, NEW JERSEY 120 (3OT)

Looking good: Nets point guard Jordan Farmar will have to wait a while longer to get the shine he deserves, because as good as his 28-point, nine-assist night was, it wasn’t nearly as wicked as the performance Russell Westbrook had. Westbrook scored all 13 of the Thunder’s points in the third overtime and finished his night with 38 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists. If Westbrook keeps this up, the Thunder will have to make room for two names (Kevin Durant and Westbrook) on the marquee. And I want to see the Western Conference coach brave enough to leave Westbrook off of the All-Star team.

Sound the Alarm: Despite the fireworks, this wasn’t an instant classic. Neither team played well before halftime and it did take them three overtimes to pile up 223 total points. That’s what happens when both teams are missing their catalysts (both Durant and Nets point guard Devin Harris were in street clothes). The injury concerns for both of those guys will have a serious impact on their respective teams if they persist.

HT’s Take: We hear all the complaints about the Thunder being overhyped and not really ready for prime time, yet they keep finding ways to win games, with and without Durant in uniform. They have the same record as the Los Angeles Lakers, so they can’t be too far off the pace. We predicted the Thunder would be among the top two in the West when it was all said and done and we’re not ready to toss that out just yet. We still believe they have the potential to chase that spot.

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BOSTON 99, PORTLAND 95

Looking good: Raise your hand if you thought the Celtics’ Big 3 would still be going strong like this 200 games deep into this experiment. We certainly can’t make that claim. But the Celtics continue to defy all of the rules of age by continually waxing the opposition. It certainly helps when Paul Pierce is dialed in the way he was against the Trail Blazers — he torched them for 28 points (including a 4-for-5 showing from long distance).

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Time To Show And Prove

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – You waited all summer for this.

And now it’s here.

We get a monster three-game appetizer tonight to kick off the NBA season, Wednesday’s 13-game slate is the outlandish first course and we’ll have eight months worth of goods to work through before a champion is crowned.

Thankfully, the powers that be in the scheduling department decided to give us an opening-night preview, with three NBA Finals favorites on display.

Miami at Boston, 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Phoenix at Portland, 10 p.m. ET

Houston at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT

It’s show and prove time for all of them, too, not just those cats in Miami (who obviously enter this season with unprecedented hype for a team that’s been together for mere months).

All six teams taking the floor tonight have questions that need answering, things that we need to know right now, before they dive in and pledge allegiance to a team they think is the real deal:

HEAT

Who cracks first, the Heat or the competition? Erik Spoelstra‘s team (we can call them that, at least for now, right?) has already adopted the “us-against-the-world” mantra needed to chase a title. In fact, I can’t remember a team preparing itself better for a theoretical championship run than the Heat has done since July, which started with the LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade mega-merger. But now the theory must be applied in an ultra-competitive environment where the Heat will be the hunted team every single night.

That said, you have to give them credit for making all the right moves. Mike Miller goes down with a hand injury that will sideline for months, so the Heat quickly snag veteran swingman Jerry Stackhouse to fill the void (same way he did for the Bucks last year). There have been no major missteps up to this point … but now it’s time to play the games. And we’re going to see if the Heat can hold up to the pressure, internal and beyond.

CELTICS

With five players 32 or older, everybody is wondering the same thing: can the Celtics will hold up to the rigors of the 82-game regular season and a second straight extended playoff run? Their championship window is clearly much smaller than the one those young whippersnappers in Miami are working with, which will no doubt fuel the Celtics’ fire all season. Can the old men hold up?

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Calling All Characters In Boston

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Surely we can all agree that Miami will be the epicenter of the basketball universe when training camps open one month (and a day) from now.

There’s been too much made about the team the Heat will field this season for there to be any reasonable alternative.

But if there is a more robust or more diverse group of characters in one locker room than the crew Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers have assembled in Boston this summer, we need to see them here at the hideout.

You start with a base of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. And who can forget Shrek (Big Baby Davis) and Donkey (Nate Robinson)?

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Adding Shaquille O’Neal always kicks the flavor up a notch. And now comes news that Ainge is giving Delonte West another tour with the Celtics, and kudos to Ainge for admitting how tough it was to part ways with West before (it’s rare for a league exec to admit such a thing publicly). Here’s Ainge talking about West to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe:

“Delonte has been one of my favorite players that I enjoyed watching in my time here with the Celtics,” Ainge. “He is a competitor and we’re all aware and we’ve done a lot of checks and had a lot of conversation with Delonte and his people and we obviously have a long history with Delonte also and we think he can help us win.”

The Celtics’ summer work proves that they do not plan on ceding their position atop the Eastern Conference to the Heat, Magic, Bulls or anyone else that fancies themselves a contender for their crown.

And it’s never been about just one signing, but more a steady accumulation of assorted talent that began with adding Jermaine O’Neal to help fortify their frontline (with Kendrick Perkins out with an injury and Rasheed Wallace retiring) and now the return of West, one of three of the Celtics’ first round draft picks in 2004.

West’s job will be to back up Pierce, a job he should have no problem handling since he’s always been able to guard bigger players. He’ll also have to prove that he’s working through the issues that have dogged him throughout his career — he’ll start the season serving a 10-game suspension for a gun possession charge in Maryland last season, and the rumors of a rift between he and LeBron James in Cleveland last year have never been confirmed but remain prevalent.

From a pure basketball standpoint, though, West seems like an ideal fit. He’s familiar with the Celtics system and has played effectively for Rivers before.

And ultimately it’s Rivers, who has worked wonders since the Big Three was formed and we suspect he’ll do more of the same with his current group, that has to make sure this works. And he seems confident that it will, per the Globe:

“I think we’re getting Delonte at a good time in his life,’’ said Rivers. “He knows who he is now. Delonte can play basketball. We know that. He brings a great toughness. That’s one of the reasons I have always loved him, because of his toughness.

“The whole chemistry thing, one of the reasons we got him, we think we can make it work. But it’s a concern. It always is. It’s a delicate balance, chemistry.’’

On a team loaded with as many characters as the Celtics will trot out onto the floor this season, there isn’t a more delicate chemistry in need of balancing in the league.

As long as Rivers id doing the balancing, we like it!

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Artest Sings Redemption’s Song

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Posted by Sekou Smith

LOS ANGELES – Kobe Bryant walked out of the Staples Center Thursday night with his fifth NBA title and his second straight Finals MVP. He praised the “Spaniard” [Pau Gasol] specifically for all his help in reaching this career milestone.

The MVP on this night, however, was none other than Ron Artest.

No one walked out of the building without seeing that, not after his 20 points, five rebounds, five steals and iron will helped drag the Lakers back from a 13-point deficit to beat back a Celtics team that controlled the action for much of the night.

“Ron Artest was the most valuable player tonight,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “He brought life to our team, he brought life to the crowd.”

When he replaced Trevor Ariza on the roster and in the starting lineup last summer, Artest made it clear that if the Lakers did not return to this space and place and win another title that it would be on his broad shoulders.

Those would be the same shoulders that carried the Lakers throughout one of their uglier games in these playoffs (32 percent shooting from the floor and 67 percent from the free throw line). While Bryant and Gasol struggled early to manage their games through tough nights, Artest was a vision.

He was all over the floor. He drained a 3-pointer with 61 seconds to play that helped the Lakers finish off the Celtics in a dramatic Game 7 that was full of twists and turns, many of which Artest played a hand in with his stifling defense on Celtics captain Paul Pierce, and timely work on offense.

In the 2008 Finals,these same Celtics were able to choke the Lakers out in six games by smothering Bryant. They knew he’d want revenge and would do anything he had to in order to get it. That usually means Bryant will have an explosive scoring night and find a way to impact a game in whatever way he can.

Not this time.

“He didn’t have to,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Artest was unbelievable.”

The rest of the Celtics knew it, too.

This was their Game if Artest hadn’t played the way he did.

“Artest was the difference in the game,” Big Baby Davis said. “He wanted it. He took it from us.”

It’s been a wild ride for Artest since he charged into the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills on that fateful November night in 2004, when he played for the Indiana Pacers. The brawl that ensued and the fallout — Artest was suspended for 73 games, the remainder of that season, and held up as the scourge of professional sports for an ugly affair that won’t soon be forgotten.

Flanked by family, a still giddy Artest addressed all that and more in a wonderfully rambling post-game session in the media work room that has to go down as an instant classic, a cathartic one you actually have to see to believe.

He apologized for those past transgressions, for those teammates he “quit” on because he was young and egotistical — his words.

This night was about not only the Lakers winning a title, but Artest’s own personal rise from the ashes. No longer the punch line of a joke, he exited the building doing all the laughing.

“The history of me in the playoffs, which I need to get better at, is playing more consistently throughout the playoffs,” Artest said. “Today is one of those days where I trusted in myself and I didn’t settle for some shots. I kind of at the right time did exactly what Coach wanted me to do. I just got to thank Coach Jackson for having me and Kobe and the Lakers for giving me this opportunity, and I’m really, really just enjoying this, and I just can’t wait to go to the club.”

Shrek Baby’s Time To Shine?

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Posted by Sekou Smith

LOS ANGELES – Rasheed Wallace is expected to get the starting call for Game 7 in place of injured Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, and far be it from me to second guess Doc Rivers at this stage of the game.

But something tells me the Celtics’ true “X-factor” tonight is gonna be Big Baby Davis.

I know he hasn’t done much since his Shrek outing in Game 4 (above). And I know Wallace is the one player in this series, for either team, that’s actually played in a Game 7 in the NBA Finals (against the Spurs in 2005).

Still, I’m going with Shrek Baby as the one wild card that could tilt this game in the Celtics’ favor. He’s played the hero before (remember that game-winner in Orlando, below, last year?)

Even more hilarious, however, is just how convinced Shrek Baby is that he will serve as the wild card tonight.

“We’ve got to pull all the stops out, man,” Davis said. “I felt like the energy was great last game. I was rebounding and I played my role. I didn’t score. Right now I’m not a threat out there. And I know I can be a threat because I know what kind of player I am. The Lakers know what kind of player I am. But they really haven’t seen me.”

Not since he and Nate Robinson snatched Game 4 for the Celtics with inspired performances off the bench.

Davis hasn’t made a shot since that night, though he does have 12 rebounds and two blocks in the two games since then.

“I haven’t hit a lot of jumpers this series,” he said, “I haven’t hit a lot of jumpers this year. But I can hit an open jumper, and they’re giving it to me. So I’m going to be real aggressive. I’m not about to sit here and be thinking about what I should have did. I’m going to go out there and do what I feel I should do.”

His minutes will certainly be up, so there will be no shortage of opportunities to impact the game.

And no one relishes the opportunity more.

“I love it,” Davis said. “I love the opportunity to step up and play a lot of minutes and be that guy on the floor. This is what you want right here. This is what you want. You got to go get it.”

And if the Celtics find a way to win, Davis knows exactly how he’d like to finish the night … celebrating on the Lakers’ home court.

“It would be great. I would love to,” he said. “I would love to celebrate on the Lakers’  floor. But it’s going to be tough. We’ve got to make it happen … because we were the prey last game and they ate us really, really bad. They ate everything. They didn’t leave nothing on the table and didn’t ask for seconds. They were eating. We didn’t eat.”

Someone has to do something crazy tonight, play out of their mind and turn this game upside down. We’re guessing this is the guy, for good or bad. We’re calling it now: Shrek Baby eats tonight.

Plus, it’s Game 7, “history,” as he said, “what the fans want, what the world wants.”

But what does Shrek Baby want?

“What do I want?  I want to be on a float taking my shirt off, screaming, celebrating a championship,” he said. “I want to be on a float next Monday.  It’ll be probably Sunday or Monday.”

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