GLEN DAVIS ALREADY ENDEARS HIMSELF TO CLIPPERS, FANS
LOS ANGELES – Glen Davis played 5:14 in his Clippers debut.
He did not step on the floor until the third quarter was all but expired. Yet his impact, even if theoretical, was palpable.
“He’s great,” said Darren Collison, who starred in the fourth quarter of the Clippers’ 101-93 win over the Rockets Wednesday. “You can already feel that he’s going to bring this team to another level. We need his presence and that’s another big body for us. He played five minutes today and it just seemed like he had impact on the game. Just imagine if he had more minutes, he’s going to have more of an impact, once he starts getting familiar with everyone else.”
When he checked in for DeAndre Jordan with 1.8 second left in the third, the Staples Center crowd greeted him with a standing ovation. Seconds into the fourth quarter, he forced a jump ball with Jordan Hamilton and won the tip. Later, he toppled over after being fouled on a driving layup attempt and all four of his new teammates on the floor with him rushed to help him up.
“I was a little nervous at first,” Davis said of his debut. “My heart was beating really fast. I haven’t played in a couple of days, so I felt winded a little bit. It felt good, I was really nervous out there. I got the jitters out with my first shot and that kind of helped me a little bit. I got in the flow, got a couple blocks, got a couple of fouls. (I almost fouled out, right?) I’m glad I could contribute and do something to help.”
Davis scored two points, making a pair of fourth-quarter free throws, blocked two shots, committed three fouls, had two rebounds, kept two more plays alive on the offensive glass and took, and missed, a step-back jumper without hesitation.
Before the game Head Coach Doc Rivers said he was unsure how much Davis would play Wednesday, but certainly had a vision for how the 28-year-old big man will help going forward.
“It is going to give us more depth at the 4 position,” Rivers said. “He’s a bruiser, banger, rebounder. He’s just a unique type of player. For as big as he is, he moves well. He can play defense and he can shoot. He did a lot of little things that help winning teams get over the hump.”
Davis said among all of the reasons he chose to sign with the Clippers despite other suitors, the chance to reunite with Rivers and potentially win a second championship were at the top of his list of priorities.
“You want to come here and play,” Davis said. “Because of the weather, the atmosphere, and what they’re trying to accomplish. But I’m playing for an NBA championship. I’m not here to do the Hollywood thing and be in movies and commercials. I don’t want that, I want another ring. That’s why I came here, that’s why I chose to come here. You don’t get any younger, you get older. And being my age, and being still in my prime, why not come here and play for something like that.”
It has been a whirlwind few days for Davis. After being waived by the Orlando Magic Friday afternoon, he signed with the Clippers (40-20) on Monday morning in New Orleans. He was introduced to his new teammates at a breakfast meeting, met the media at Smoothie King Arena that evening, sat in the locker room during the game as he awaited the team’s return to Los Angeles for his required physical examination, and was put through an extended workout Wednesday after shootaround.
“He had a work out in the morning,” Jared Dudley said. “They basically killed him all day and then go put him in the game, so I think by Saturday, him getting his legs underneath him, he’ll be a lot better.”
Still, he played with the kind of energy and reckless abandon that nearly everyone associated with the Clippers expected, particularly Rivers, who coached Davis for four seasons in Boston. He’s played with J.J. Redick and Hedo Turkoglu in Orlando, but even the players he suited up with for the first time noticed.
“I am excited about Baby [Glen Davis] and his spirit and the passion that he plays with is contagious,” Chris Paul said. “I think that our second unit could use it. He is one of those guys that plays with a purpose, plays with the passion and a great, great mix and blend I think for what our team needs going forward.”