Last night marked the first anniversary of Danny Ainge's bold, six-player trade with Cleveland in which Ricky Davis was the obvious attraction. The move generated plenty of controversy at the time, eventually cost the Celtics the services of Jim O'Brien and Dick Harter, ended a five-game winning streak, and now only Davis remains on the active roster of either team.
Chris Mihm was traded to the Lakers in the Gary Payton deal. And then there's Michael Stewart, whose next game will (a) be his first and (b) probably be with someone else. The good-natured Stewart, the third member of the Cavaliers who came to the Celtics that fateful day, is on the injured list with what the team is calling bilateral knee tendinitis. Truth be told, he's as healthy as a horse, but he wishes he had a chance to prove it.
"You know how things go in this league, right team, right time," Stewart said before the Celtics' 100-99 loss to the Nuggets last night. "This isn't it for me. Hopefully, I'll find it in the future."
Stewart remains valuable to the Celtics in a monetary sense; he's on the last year of his contract, which makes him attractive come trade deadline time. Given Ainge's history, it would be something short of a miracle if Stewart is still with the Celtics after 3 p.m. Feb. 24. That would be fine with him if he got a chance to play.
"It hasn't been all that great here," he said. "I had one good game last year in Miami when O'Brien was still here, but other than that it's been a lot of sitting around."
Davis, of course, has emerged as exactly the type of force Ainge envisioned. He also has been on his best behavior this season, although he did get T'd up last night. He also had 18 points, 13 in the fourth quarter. He had his high as a Celtic, 33 points, Monday night.
The three Celtics sent to Cleveland are elsewhere: Eric Williams and Tony Battie are in New Jersey and Kedrick Brown is in Philadelphia. O'Brien and Harter ended up in Philly as well.
Making a list
Tom Gugliotta joined Stewart on the injured list yesterday with what the team said was a mild right ankle sprain. Rookie Justin Reed was activated and dressed for the game but saw no action. Gugliotta was not all that pleased by the news, although he had been a human DNP since coming off the IL Dec. 1. "No one wants to be on the injured list," Gugliotta said. "It's hard. In the preseason, I felt real good. I wanted to hopefully build from there, instead of regressing. But I have regressed as far as being on the basketball court and playing. It's a long season." Gugliotta has played only 92 minutes all season . . . Both Davis and Payton picked up technical fouls . . . The Nuggets' big guys were out in force, swatting 11 Boston shots. Marcus Camby had five blocks and Kenyon Martin added four. Denver entered the game ranked eighth in the league in blocked shots. Each member of the Nuggets' starting front line - Camby, Martin, and Carmelo Anthony - had a double-double in points and rebounds . . . Raef LaFrentz had a season-high 15 rebounds.
Nene? No, no
The Nuggets were without the services of Nene, who was sidelined with a right hip pointer. He has been hurt all season, appearing in just 12 games . . . Davis had a long stint at point guard in the fourth quarter, as Doc Rivers refused to send in Marcus Banks, who had a tough first half. "It's pretty simple," Davis said of the position. "You bring the ball up, you push it, you get guys shots who need to get shots." Davis had two assists, one in the fourth . . . Tough night for the Boston bench, other than Davis. Frequent flyer Tony Allen played 11 scoreless minutes with no "SportsCenter" moments. Al Jefferson had 5 points and five rebounds in 15 minutes. The bench had been averaging 35.9 points over the previous 13 games. It had 27 last night . . . Andre Miller had 19 points for Denver, but his best shot didn't count. He threw in a 75-footer at the end of the first quarter that hit nothing but net. Alas, it was a few seconds late . . . The Celtics did not arrive in town until 10 a.m. Tuesday because the team plane had to stop in Kansas for refueling. Normally, a west-to-east flight from the coast is a nonstopper, but there were no tail winds for the Celtics. Rivers joked that he wanted a new plane like Air Force One that can be refueled while flying . . . Last night was the fifth game in a brutal road trip for Denver that will see the Nuggets play seven games in 11 days. It was about time. The Nuggets played only four road games in the first six weeks of the season. This trip matches the longest road trip in team history and is the longest in 15 years.