Ricky Davis Returns to Cleveland

November 23, 2005

CLEVELAND - The boos came early and often, every time Ricky Davis touched the ball. They grew louder every time he put up a shot or got called for a foul. With 2.1 seconds remaining in the first quarter, the vulgar chants started in one end of the Quicken Loans Arena.

Much-maligned when he played for the Cavaliers, Davis expected the unkind reception, though he filled about 18 ticket requests for friends and family last night. Almost two years removed from his days in Cleveland, Davis has put that controversial time behind him. 

"I've had a good game [playing for Boston in Cleveland]," said Davis. "I haven't really had a great game. It's fun being back in Cleveland, somewhere you've played, getting all the boos and the cheers, you know, all the animosity. It's fun. When you leave on a down note and come back on an up note, it's a great feeling to be in the gym."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers wants Davis focused on defense and changing speeds when he plays.

"We still work on him about defensive things where he gets lost," said Rivers. "He plays hard, but sometimes he blows assignments. But the one thing is, when you correct him, he does it.

"Offensively, this year, we're trying to get him playing at different gears. That has not been so successful yet because he's so damn fast, he's thinking he can beat him with speed. He can, but sometimes the speed dribbles him into traffic and into turnovers.

"If we can get him to play at different gears, I think he can become an unguardable force in our league."

Rivers went on to call Davis a future All-Star, with one caveat: The Celtics have to win more.

"Unless you're a big winner, I don't think you should have more than one on your team," said Rivers. "That's an old-school thought. I believe Detroit should have three and they only had one. We've got to correct that, so send that message out to coaches."

Allen stays behind

Contrary to what he told reporters last week, Tony Allen will not return to practice today. He did not even make the trip, remaining in Boston along with Marcus Banks (stress fracture left leg). According to Rivers, Allen will spend the rest of the week working with strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo, then undergo an MRI on his surgically repaired right knee. The concern now is with a bone bruise that occurred at the same time he tore his meniscus. Rivers expects Allen back practicing with the team Tuesday and guesses he could be activated in two to three weeks. Allen played Gerald Green one-on-one Monday after practice and, according to Rivers, looked "terrific." Said Rivers, "If he looks like he looked the other night, it could be pretty quick, but who knows? But a one-on-one game against Gerald Green is completely different than a five-on-five game against everybody. I would say two or three weeks, but I don't know that. I'm just throwing that number out."

Floating forward

There may be no bigger Drew Gooden fan outside Cleveland than Rivers, who coached the power forward in Orlando. "The thing that you love about Drew is he's tenacious," said Rivers. "He's never going to stop trying to rebound. The only negative with him is you've got to try to keep him inside of who he is. Sometimes he floats into being Magic [ Johnson ] and sometimes he floats into being Jerry West in his mind. Other than that, he's great." Gooden entered last night leading the Cavaliers with 9.2 rebounds per game, which was 17th in the league . . . Paul Pierce has a love-hate relationship with Cleveland fans. Recently, it's been more hate, especially after an exhibition game in Columbus, where Pierce allegedly spat at the Cavaliers bench. "I don't know why the fans don't like me," said Pierce. "I thought they liked me. I bought a guy popcorn and hot dogs one year. I played with the Moondog [mascot]. I thought they liked me. It's entertainment sometimes. Sometimes you've just got to have fun with it." . . . Here's one for the trivia books: Rivers's son, Austin James , is named after two members of the Cleveland teams of the 1970s: Austin Carr and Jim Brewer (currently a Celtics assistant) . . . Rivers was a little perturbed that Brewer was not represented in the commemorative wall decorations around the Cleveland arena that honored great players from the past. "Who did this wall?" said Rivers. "What about guys that helped this team win?" . . . Damon Jones left the game with 10 minutes 50 seconds left in the half with a sprained ankle and did not return.

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