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10.29.2008

Powe & Davis: What Wicks and Rowe Never Were


When Red Auerbach allowed Paul Silas to leave the Celtics for free agency during the summer after Banner 13, NBA observers weren't sure what to make of it. Silas wasn't a dominant offensive force, and so the betting money said he was replaceable.

Celtics fans knew better.

Silas was a tough defender and a indefatigable rebounder who brought a certain amount of grit to the floor. He had Cowens’ back. In fact, Cowens was so enamored with Silas that upon #35's departure, Cowens went into a funk that eventually forced him to take a leave of absence from the team.

Enter Curtis Rowe and Sidney Wicks.

Two power forwards that were roughly the same height, the same weight, and played roughly the same game. It was impossible to think of one without thinking of the other. Red figured these two former UCLA greats would be perfect Celtics. After all, hadn't they come of age under the tutelage of John Wooden? And, anyway, two UCLA greats surely could replace a single Celtic great.

It didn't work out that way.

The Wicks-Rowe tandem only disappointed. Today that dark page in Celtics history is crystallized by a quote from Curtis Rowe. Upon entering the locker room after yet another loss, Rowe exclaimed, "Come on, fellas, there ain't no W's and L's on our paychecks!"

Thirty years later, it might just take Leon Powe and Glen Davis to meet the unfulfilled expectations of Wicks & Rowe.

Like Wicks and Rowe, Powe and Davis are often thought of in tandem, as mirror-image bookends. Both players are undersized power forwards (or at least "length challenged," as no one could really call Big Baby "undersized"). Both players are known for their unexpected offensive outbursts, BBD against the Pistons during the regular season and Powe against the Lakers during the Finals. The two are also know for their occasional lapses, Powe on defense, BBD on his shot selection.

The two players are so similar that many Celtics fans have confused the two players for one player called "Leon Davis."

But what Powe and Davis really prove is how little it takes to be an effective Celtics role player. Powe scored 13 points on 5-7 shooting in Tuesday night’s game, while BBD didn't do much offensively, but was an immovable object in the paint.

Most importantly, both guys come to play.

In short, Powe and Davis are everything that Wicks and Rowe weren't.

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