It was reunion night for the Clippers, four players and their coach returning to the arena they once called home.
Doc Rivers exchanged warm greetings with members of the local media. J.J. Redick was cheered during player introductions. Hedo Turkoglu shared a laugh with a familiar face behind the scorer’s table. Matt Barnes had little chance of taking a wrong turn inside the Amway Center.
For Glen Davis, it was a reminder of the most trying 2 1/2 seasons of his NBA career.
The irregular playing time and continuous injuries were nothing compared to the epic losing.
“It was tough, losing games back to back, not really understanding which way are we going,” Davis said Wednesday before his first appearance here since the Orlando Magic bought out his contract in February. “It’s tough to go through that and not play for something. My whole career leading up to that, I’ve always played for something, played for something bigger, and to go through that just to keep going and keep going, it drains you.”
Davis had won an NBA championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008 before becoming part of Orlando teams that won 20 and 23 games during his final two seasons there. The Magic severed ties with the power forward largely to give more playing time to its young core of big men.
The Clippers signed Davis shortly thereafter and re-signed him this summer for one year and the veteran’s minimum. Davis, who had six points during the Clippers’ 114-90 victory over his former team, said he is more valuable to a championship contender like his current team than a rebuilding team like the Magic.
“The things I do kind of get overshadowed as far as the small things, playing the right way — the small intangibles to win games are ignored and being back on a championship team, the little things count just as much as the big things,” Davis said. “So I feel real good about that, knowing that everything I do out there means something to the team.”
Green’s fresh start
The Clippers waived Willie Green last summer with the hope of bringing him back.
The Magic nixed those plans by putting in a claim for the veteran shooting guard.
“One part of you is disappointed,” Green said, “and the other side of you is excited to kind of have a fresh start.”
Green was one of the most popular and unsung Clippers during his two seasons in Los Angeles, maintaining the same upbeat attitude whether he was starting games or playing a handful of minutes.
He has moved from a veteran locker room to one filled with recent draft picks, which has its benefits.
“I have an opportunity to really kind of put my stamp on these young guys and help them with their careers moving forward,” Green said.
Green started his first game of the season Wednesday, walking over to the Clippers’ bench and hugging Rivers before tipoff. Green finished with six points.
Rivers said Green, 33, would make a terrific coach once he finishes his playing career.
“When he’s done running around in tight shorts,” Rivers said, “he can come and sit next to me in a tight suit.”