Denton: Davis Gets Advice from Garnett
By John Denton
November 9, 2012
ORLANDO – Orlando Magic power forward Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis has called on a big gun from his past to help him make adjustments to his game following a two-game dip in production.
Davis sparked the Magic to two wins by averaging 25.5 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 46.8 percent in the first two games of the season. But he struggled mightily against the big front lines of Chicago and Minnesota, averaging just 10 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting just 29 percent.
Davis, who is listed at 6-foot-9, repeatedly had his shot blocked by Chicago’s Joakim Noah and he knows he has to find other ways to score inside against bigger players. For advice, he turned to Boston all-star Kevin Garnett, his mentor during his four season while playing for the Celtics. He hopes the advice will pay off tonight when his Magic (2-2) host the New Jersey Nets (1-2) at the Amway Center at 7 p.m.
``I talked to K.G. last night and he was telling me some great advice that could most definitely help me,’’ Davis said. ``He told me, `Now you’ve graduated. Now you’re a Navy Seal.’ And I see it.
``I call (Garnett) because we’re like brothers and at the end of the day I needed some advice,’’ Davis continued. ``He was just telling me that I know how to play and to keep playing the right way and let the game come and flow. He said don’t press yourself and feel like you have to do everything. I can still be aggressive, but I have to realize that I’m a student now. I have to play the game whole and not just one way. I have to pass it, cut, set screens and be a student.’’
The Magic will be without point guard Jameer Nelson for a fourth consecutive game because of a strained hamstring/groin combination. Nelson said he is making progress and hopes to return by Sunday’s game in Brooklyn, but he sounded like next week might be a more realistic option.
Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn is eager to see how his team will respond to its first losing streak of the season. The Magic put up a strong fight against Chicago, taking a lead into the fourth quarter before falling down the stretch. A night later in Minnesota, poor shooting and turnovers bedeviled Orlando in a sloppy loss.
Now, the Magic – like Davis – must show an ability to adapt, adjust and overcome against an angry New Jersey team that blew a 22-point lead against Minnesota and was routed by Miami on Wednesday.
``It’s a good challenge for us, especially with Brooklyn coming off a few losses themselves,’’ Vaughn said. ``So it’s two teams really looking for a win.’’
Davis carried the Magic offense versus Denver on Opening Night, making 13 of 25 shots and coming within one basket of his career high with 29 points. And he followed that up by overcoming a slow start against Phoenix and finishing with 22 points and eight rebounds.
Facing Chicago defensive mastermind Tom Thibodeau, a former assistant in Boston while Davis played there, the Bulls gave the Magic’s power forward fits all night. Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah (five blocked shots) used their length to frustrate Davis on the inside and hold him to seven of 22 shooting. Davis even took a forced 3-pointer with 56 seconds remaining and the Magic trailing by four points.
Davis again had problems in Minnesota finishing around the basket and missed seven of his nine shot attempts. That prompted the call to Garnett and the promise to make changes for tonight’s game against Kris Humphries and the Nets. Davis acknowledged that he is now a focal point of opposing teams’ scouting reports – something that is a first for him – and it’s on him to adjust.
``I can feel it out there, but it’s still any man’s ball game and you still have to stop it,’’ Davis said of other teams focusing in on stopping him. ``Now, it’s about being a real student of the game and realizing what you can do and can’t do and making adjustments.’’
John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997. E-mail John at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JohnDenton555.
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