Ricky Davis Feels Liberated

January 9, 2004


WALTHAM - Chris Mihm and Ricky Davis have had tonight's game against the Cavaliers on their minds and circled on their calendars since arriving here 3 weeks ago. Mihm sees the deal as a chance to finally win. Davis sees it as flat-out liberation.

After yesterday's workout at HealthPoint, Davis took dead aim on the Cavs, their management, their coaching staff, the city of Cleveland, everything, it seems, except the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Although, to be fair, he wasn't asked about that.) He made it quite clear he is as happy to be in Boston as he is to be out of Cleveland."It was great. A great trade," Davis said of the Dec. 15 deal that brought him, Mihm, and Michael Stewart to Boston for Eric Williams, Tony Battie, and Kedrick Brown. "[I'm] glad to be out of the black hole. It's terrible over there. The organization is bad. [There's] no system. The town [is bad]. Everything [is bad]. The GM [is bad]. All of it is kind of backward. It's good to be in a winning organization that has a system and knows what's going on."

   Whew. Think Davis will get the Canyon of Heroes treatment at Gund Arena when he goes back Feb. 9?

Davis said he had no problem with the attention showered on rookie LeBron James, adding, "We got along great. Me and him know we have a good relationship and that's all that counts." He also said he was grateful the Cavaliers gave him a chance to showcase his game, but reminded everyone that he didn't want them to match Minnesota's six-year offer sheet in 2002.

"I wish they would have never signed me back," he said. "They made me go out and sign a contract and then they signed me back. It's kind of cruddy."

Davis had widely publicized difficulties with Cavaliers coach Paul Silas, both in Charlotte and for the 2 1/2 months this season in Cleveland. But he said he liked his former teammates and thought they had a chance to do well - to a point.

"You can turn it around, but you got the two guys up top, so it's going to be hard to turn it around," he said, referring to owner Gordon Gund and general manager Jim Paxson.

"We hope Ricky can be happy in Boston and we wish him nothing but the best," said Paxson.

And Davis's new town and team?

"It's a step up in everything: class, coaches, owners, GM, players, winning, tradition. Everything."

Mihm finds a home

Mihm wasn't in a Cleveland-bashing mood and even said he planned to seek out former teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas for a dinner companion last night. But he did make it clear he is happier where he is.

"I'm loving it here," said Mihm, who added he finally was able to move out of the hotel he has called home and into a house. "I love the organization, the team, the mentality. There's a lot of pride around this organization and a determination and a will to win. And that's something I'm glad to be a part of."

Celtics coach Jim O'Brien plans to start Mihm again up front with Mark Blount. Mihm has been an O'Brien fan since the first practice.

"I feel like Coach O'Brien brings a lot of accountability for every player," said Mihm. "Defensively and offensively, it's a very team-oriented scheme. And if one guy messes up, he's letting down the rest of his teammates. If there's a mistake out there, everyone knows who was the weak link. It makes everyone step up more and have accountability for what they're doing." . . . O'Brien is 11-0 against the Cavaliers, including two victories this season. The last time these teams met was the last game before the Dec. 15 trade. SIDEBAR:

Cavaliers thumbnails * When, where: Tonight, 7:30, at the FleetCenter. * TV/radio: FSNE, WWZN (1510). * Records: Cleveland is 11-24 (tied for sixth in the Central Division); Boston is 18-19 (second in the Atlantic Division). * Scoring: LeBron James 19.9, Zydrunas Ilgauskas 14.5, Carlos Boozer 13.0. * Rebounds: Boozer 10.6, Ilgauskas 7.5, James 5.8. * Assists: James 6.2, Kevin Ollie 3.4, Darius Miles 2.4. * Head to head: This is the third of four meetings this season. Boston won the first two: 91-82, Nov. 14, at the FleetCenter and 105-98, Dec. 13, in Cleveland. * Miscellany: This is the first meeting since the Celtics traded Eric Williams, Tony Battie, and Kedrick Brown to the Cavaliers for Ricky Davis, Chris Mihm, and Michael Stewart Dec. 15. Cleveland is 5-6 since the trade . . . James, who is eighth in the league in assists, scored 37 points against the Celtics Dec. 13 . . . Boozer is ninth in the NBA in rebounds.

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