18 March 2011
Just minutes after Byron Scott confessed the Cleveland Cavaliers are "soft mentally", Baron Davis explained he is playing with a heavy heart right now.
How can you blame him.
It's been one week since Davis left the Cavs and returned to Los Angeles to be with his family following the passing of his grandmother, Lela "Madea" Nicholson. Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Nicholson raised Davis and help prevent the now veteran point guard from getting involved in the gang-life that surrounded him as a kid.
This has been one loss Davis just can't seem to shake right now.
"This is the first time in my life where I can't think and I can't find anything. There's just no depth to the person and character of who I am right now," said Davis following the 111-70 loss to the Blazers.
"I'm at a loss for words right now. I wish i could tell you. I'm kind of numb. I'm kind of here and there. The best way to describe it is numb. It's tough."
At a time like this, there may be a quick cure for the Cavs and their on-court struggles. Scott can draw up the "X's and O's" of a team grasping to be better than their 13 wins show. But for Davis, only time will heal the loss he's experiencing.
Davis' 89-year-old grandmother had been ill for some time. He wanted to be close to her and his family and needed the time away in Los Angeles over this past week. But even when he returns to the game, Davis is reminded of Nicholson.
It's no wonder Davis chose to wear No. 85 with the Cavs. It was his way of paying respect to his late grandparents. Their house was on 85th St. in Los Angeles.
Now Davis prepares to return to Los Angeles. The Cavs face his former Clippers on Saturday.
"Every day I just have to use this as an opportunity and let things happen -- let life and the cycle happen. I'm going to head back home and I just have to be strong for my family while I am there, and then head back to Cleveland and have some peace of mind and have some alone time, can sit and reflect and pick up the pieces and start over."
Taking the time off was also hard on Davis' body. He endured back spasms for much of the game and is unsure if he'll play against the Clippers.
"That was a team that was hungry and i just tried to play hard and it just didn't feel good out there," said Davis.
Couple that with Portland mounting a 44-point lead at one point, and it's any wonder why Davis chose now to return to the game. He easily could have remained in Los Angeles, but admitted he wanted to get back to basketball -- maybe as a save haven and distraction more than a chance to help improve Cleveland.
"That's basically what it was. I thought i needed to do something to clear my head and take my mind off things, and I kind of jumped into a fire. I jumped into a fire," continued Davis, who played just over 14 minutes and finished with 3 points.
"I just wanted to be around my teammates. I was watching them, and I wanted to be back in the gym and get back around the game. I think it's a learning process and it's definately dissappointing with a loss like that. Hopefully we can put everything into perspective and play with a little more passion and energy to start the game and let that be our guiding light."
Davis spoke openly and honestly, his eyes seeming to tear up at times. For as much as he loves the game of basketball, it's easy to see how a part of Davis is missing while he grapples with the loss of his grandmother.
Madea was always there for him growing up, and each day something is missing even as basketball endures for Baron Davis.
"That's always been my cure since I was a kid," Davis said of the game.
"I just wanted to get back with the team and get on the court and clear my brain."
Straight from the heart.
That's something any grandmother would be proud of.
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