BOSTON (CBS) — Celtics fans are nothing if not persistent.
That much was evident on Monday night, when the 18.000-plus fans in attendance gave Pelicans forward Anthony Davis a hearty welcome during pregame introductions. Considering Celtics fans have long salivated at the idea of the team acquiring Davis via trade, the message sent from fans was pretty clear: You’d be welcome here, Mr. Davis.
It’s something Celtics fans have tried before, with great success. When Gordon Hayward visited Boston as a member of the Utah Jazz on Jan. 3, 2017, Celtics fans offered up a nice round of applause for the forward when he was introduced before tip-off. That reaction irked at least one player who was actually on the Celtics at the time, but it perhaps played a role — even if it was a small role — in Hayward’s decision to join the Celtics in free agency.
While Davis won’t be a free agent until 2021, trade speculation has heated up recently. Included in that speculation has been a report that said the Celtics are one team that Davis wouldn’t be opposed to joining.
As for the cheers on Monday, Davis couldn’t really say much beyond this:
“I heard it tonight. But I’m focused on this team. I’m trying to do whatever I can to help this team get wins with the roster we have. Like I said, it’s been a rocky season, so it’s on me to try to figure it out. I know the team follows me, you know, I’m the leader, and I gotta be the one that makes sure that we’re ready to play every night.
“So, for me, if I just go out there and play with this team, go out there and try to have fun and get wins. That’s all I’m worried about is getting wins for this team. And hopefully we can get further than we did last year.”
Davis scored 41 points (on 17-of-34 shooting) and pulled down seven rebounds against the Celtics, but his Pelicans lost, 113-100. That result came despite the Celtics missing Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Gordon Hayward due to various injuries and illnesses.
It was also a game that saw Celtics rookie Robert Williams block two shot attempts from Davis.
Those blocks certainly caught Davis’ attention.
“Did a good job. I mean, he blocked a few shots, got a couple dunks. He plays hard,” Davis said of the rookie. “Yeah I was surprised, I thought he was going to go for the pump fake; he didn’t. I just tried to shoot it over him. He’s good. I mean, he’s talented. He’s a good defensive player. Then he got another one on the other end, late in the second half. So I just tried to change it up a little bit. But I was really surprised he got the first one.”