BOSTON -- At first, you thought "danger!" Now, you might be thinking it was a Godsend.
When Nate Robinson was acquired from the New York Knicks on Feb. 18, 2010, he was inserted into the locker located in the far left of the Boston Celtics' dressing room. While Robinson now sits in that locker jamming out to music during pregame, the man promptly located to his right is Glen "Big Baby" Davis.
Prior to Robinson's arrival, everyone had heard about his possible maturity issues as a young point guard. And everyone already knew that Davis was nicknamed Big Baby for a reason, as he trots around on a daily basis exuding his inner child.
It seemed like pairing the two next to each other could serve as throwing gasoline into an already-lit fire, deepening the players' inability to take things serious day-in and day-out.
But nearly four months later, we've learned that something far different has happened -- something the Celtics' front office might want to take credit for knowing months in advance. Davis and Robinson have berthed a unique relationship where the off-the-court fun continues, but the on-the-court mantras are as serious as they come.
"I'm just worried about winning, whatever it takes to win, and just making sure that I give my teammates positive energy to finish out the game," said Davis after Game 4.
Well, your neighbor in the locker room is right there with you, Glen.
Thursday's Game 4 in the TD Garden is proof in the pudding as to how far these two players have come alongside each other. How about 18 points and five boards for Davis, and 12 points, two rebounds and two assists from Robinson? That's the short of their performance in Game 4 -- let's get into the long of their journey Thursday night.
Less than an hour after the game ended, the two slowly dressed themselves next to each other in the locker room while reporters waited to hear their take on the contest. While Robinson frantically attempted to locate his bottle of lotion, which he screamed in all directions to try and locate, Davis stood next to him facing away from the media, seemingly reading something.
When Davis turned around, he had a sly look on his face and boasted to the crowd of reporters that his phone was blowing up to the tune of 18 text messages about the game. That's all Robinson needed to divert from the lotion hunt, as he immediately pulled out his phone and stole Davis' thunder by claiming 22 unread text messages in his inbox.
With Nate Robinson playing Donkey and Glen Davis playing Shrek, the two energetic reserves celebrate during the fourth quarter of Boston's Game 4 win..
That was just the beginning of their half-hour-long spree of jokes, which began at that very moment and ended at the podium, where only the best players of the game can speak.
An exchange on the podium, of which they were discussing a play where Robinson leaped onto Davis' back in celebration of a huge play, went like this:
Davis: "You were on my back?"
Robinson: "You didn't even notice. We're like Shrek and Donkey. You can't separate us."
Davis: "You shouldn't have let us get up here."
Well, we had to, because they are the collective reason why the NBA Finals is now tied at 2-2, rather than having the Lakers just one step shy of another championship.
And to make things better, their appearance in the limelight gave us the opportunity to see these two players' off-the-court relationship at its best just an hour after watching their on-the-court relationship flourish.
Davis and Robinson were two peas in a pod Thursday night, making impressive play after impressive play, all the while jacking up the crowd to new levels with their energy.
"I just think that you can't scout energy, no matter what," said Robinson. "Something my college coach used to say is that the more energy you bring, you'll be surprised what the outcome of the game will be."
It wasn't surprising tonight.
The nimble big man and lightning-quick point guard absolutely dominated the fourth quarter with shots from all distances and angles. Davis nailed numerous driving layups, some of which were reverses, while Robinson hit everything form 3s to floaters in the lane. They executed at new heights Thursday when the Celtics needed them most, causing many to wonder from where it all came.
"I don't think that what we did today was really on the scouting report," said Davis. "A lot of things that we did, it was a lot of just will and determination and seizing the moment. You know, we all have been college players, and we've both had success in the NBA so far. I think the world knows that we can play the game. But to play it at this level and the way we played it, I don't think they knew that."
Their ascension into the spotlight began with Boston trailing by two points heading into the fourth quarter. Doc Rivers chose to stick to his guns and continue with the rotation that has gotten his team to the Finals, meaning his bench would begin the fourth quarter.
Davis and Robinson were the biggest pieces of that group of those four reserves, along with Ray Allen, and they weren't thinking about treading water while the starters watched -- they wanted to swim in the deep end. So when the fourth quarter began, they jumped right in.
Big Baby got the party started by scoring on a difficult reverse layup to tie the game up at 62-62 just 44 seconds into the period. Then, after Allen hit a similar shot seconds later to tie the game, Robinson dove on the floor at the other end to steal the ball away from Jordan Farmar and called a timeout to preserve the possession for Boston.
The crowd flew of its collective seat and gave one of the loudest cheers of the night, prompting Robinson to take a detour to the Celtics' huddle and instead veer onto the court to help pump the crowd up even more.
That, my friends, is when the momentum began to build.
"I mean, that's me," said Robinson, alluding to the different dimension he can bring to a game. "I can score points, I can do all that, play D, I just want to bring energy. The more energy I bring, the more I get the crowd involved, my teammates, the energy of the building, the sky's the limit."
If the sky is the limit, these guys were floating on air, or dangerously close to it. The duo continued their great play so long that Rivers left the reserves in for 9:09 of the fourth, rather than going back to his starters.
On a night where the Celtics needed a win, it was Shrek and Donkey who delivered. The Celtics aren't thinking that duo is dangerous anymore, but the Lakers have to be.