BOSTON -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics held a lightning-fast practice Monday at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint:
The rundown (a quick look at practice headlines)
Nate, Marquis out of rotation; Shelden challenging Baby?
Following up on his postgame remarks Sunday, Celtics coach Doc Rivers reiterated Monday that the players featured in Sunday's win over the Cavaliers will likely make up the team's postseason rotation. That means Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels, who both saw "DNP -- Coach's Decision" next to their names Sunday, currently are bound to the bench.
"[Robinson and Daniels] will have their day, too, and they’ll play in the playoffs and the end of the regular season, that's how this team is built," said Rivers. "Their role right now is to keep working every day in practice, but there will be a day or time when we are going to need them. When someone is in foul trouble, or someone might not be playing well. The same thing with Shelden. I went back and forth, honestly, before [Sunday's] game: Shelden or [Davis]. Shelden is playing so well -- they’re so close with the way they’re playing. It won’t take much to get those guys on the court."
Given the recent struggles of Robinson and Daniels, it's not terribly surprising they've been relegated to the end of the pine (though, considering the expectations of both when they arrived in Boston, it is a bit shocking to see them fall so far as the playoffs near). The fact that little-used Williams could leapfrog a player that started in place of Kevin Garnett last postseason is a bit more noteworthy.
Davis spent extra time after Monday's light practice getting up mid-range shots, then talked to the media a bit about embracing a role that calls for him doing a lot less of that very activity. Davis has morphed into an energy presence beneath the basket, highlighted Sunday when he blocked a shot, then hurdled a front-row fan while attempting to chase the loose ball, only to return to the court and end up in the middle of the action again.
"That's my role this year," said Davis. "Last year, I had a different role. Last year, my role was to be a scorer, hit open jump shots. This year we have Rasheed Wallace, so I had to find another niche to be successful and to help our team, [a role] no one else can do. Being an energy guy is my role. It's good to know I can do other things, but you have to stay in your role and do what's best for the team."
Davis is struggling mightily to convert shots around the basket, with an alarmingly high number of his attempts being blocked around the rim. Even so, it would seem his energy -- the same attribute that has allowed Tony Allen to re-emerge at the guard position -- would keep him on the floor, particularly as he's been the team's best offensive rebounder.
"You've got to have a knack for the ball," Davis said while explaining the art of offensive rebounding. "Right place, right time. It's just a feel. You can't teach offensive rebounding. You've got to go get the will."
TA passes tests, earns playing time reward
Guard Tony Allen recently has seen an uptick in playing time, thanks in large part to the energy and production he showed after Ray Allen got in foul trouble during Friday's overtime loss to Houston. It was another example of Tony Allen providing the team with a jolt of energy in an emergency situation and it appears he's become the backup point guard behind Rajon Rondo as the postseason nears.
"I think it’s like when you're in school, you take tests and quizzes," explained Tony Allen. "I think I've been getting quizzed all year, in games games and situations. I passed some of those tests and it's paying off now."
Like Davis, Tony Allen seems to have flourished by not focusing on scoring.
"I approach each game as a defender," he said. "Although I know I can score, I take advantage when opportunities are there to score, going within the offense. That will keep me on the court, not trying to do too much. I'm out there with Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce -- those are primary scorers. I've got to feed off those guys. That's basically given me the opportunity and I understand that."
And Tony Allen very much likes the opportunity to match up defensively against superstars like LeBron James. The two got into a bit of jawing after James missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer in the final moments. According to Ray Allen, Tony Allen was just telling him he did his job to prevent him from scoring, and James was merely dismissing the gum-flapping. Tony Allen backed up that story Monday and noted he didn't catch any flak from his coaches for the encounter.
"Doc didn't say anything besides, 'Good job, good job.' That's all I heard," said Tony Allen. "I didn't say anything. We weren't arguing. We were just talking. It was nothing."
Tony Allen did admit he had motivation to atone for a defensive lapse that allowed Aaron Brooks to hit a 3-pointer that helped force overtime in Friday's loss to the Rockets.
"Basically, I really wanted to win [Sunday's] game because of the fact that we lost three in a row," said Tony Allen. "I played extensive minutes in back-to-back games, but the last game I gave up a 3-pointer to Aaron Brooks. I was just into the game."
Loose balls: Doc and Rasheed talk it out
* After Wallace drew a technical foul Sunday late in the third quarter against Cleveland, he vented his anger to anyone who would listen, and some of that venom got directed at Rivers as he pulled Wallace from the game. On Monday, Rivers wouldn't elaborate about why Wallace got so heated, particularly at his coach, but said the two had a good conversation about the episode.
"It happens. It won't be the last time," said Rivers. "As a coach, your job when a -- I call it an emotional hijack -- happens, your job is keep your team focused and you can't focus on the one guy. Then after the game, the next day, you have a conversation and get that right. Emotionally, it's not personal. When you have an emotional hijack, you don't get along with anybody at that moment. I understand that.
"We had a great talk. I didn't seek his apologies, but he said, 'Hey, I should have controlled myself.' I don't know if that's an apology, but I didn't ask for him an apology because I didn't need it."
With 49.9 seconds left in the third quarter, Wallace got irate after Davis was whistled for a foul against Zydrunas Ilgauskas. It wasn't so much the play on the court that appeared to irk Wallace, but the fact that referees did nothing a short time before when James barked at them for not calling a foul on a layup.
After James scored under the basket, he barked at an official about a non-call, going so far as to slap his own arm and note, "That's my [expletive] arm," right in front of the Boston bench. The referees did not assess a technical foul for James' outburst.
Wallace, who's been T'd up for for more innocuous words, didn't like the superstar treatment afforded James and picked up his first technical foul since Feb. 19 in Portland.
After the game, Rivers downplayed the episode, joking that, "My wife screams at me and we still love each other."
* Rivers reiterated his appreciation that Dennis Johnson is headed to the Hall of Fame after Monday's official announcement: "It's awesome, it really is. I wish he had been able to see this day. I thought he deserved that. After what he gave to the game, we should have given back to him earlier. But he's still in, and that's really good."
* The Celtics weren't on the floor long for a practice that started at noon. By the time the media invaded a short time later, most of the players had already cleared out and Rivers noted that he held a glorified shootaround to ensure all the players were present for the team's flight to New York Monday afternoon.