ATLANTA — JD Davison was at LaGuardia Airport preparing to fly back to Portland with the Maine Celtics on Wednesday afternoon when coach Alex Barlow told the rookie his services were needed elsewhere.
With guards Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) and Marcus Smart (ankle) both sidelined for Wednesday’s game against the Hawks, Davison was being summoned to the NBA.
Davison said he got the news about 15 minutes before the G League team was scheduled to board its plane, and the next flight to Atlanta happened to be in the same terminal, less than 20 gates away.
That flight was slightly delayed, giving Davison some extra time. But then his driver from Hartsfield-Jackson Airport got a bit lost trying to find the entrance to State Farm Arena. Davison made it to the locker room about an hour before tip-off.
In his second NBA appearance, Davison played four minutes in the 126-101 win. His debut was a two-minute stint in Friday’s home win over the Nuggets.
Davison, a second-round draft pick in June, is averaging 15.8 points, 6.3 assists and 6 rebounds per game for Maine, helping the team to a 4-0 start.
“The experience has been great,” Davison said. “I’m learning everything I can learn, soaking everything up and having fun with it and enjoying the moment.”
Davison is from Letohatchee, Ala., which sits about 185 miles from Atlanta. He said that once he was called up, he contacted friends and family in Alabama. His mother, brothers, and several friends drove from Alabama to see him suit up for the Celtics.
Smart joins Brogdon on bench
Brogdon missed his fourth consecutive game due to right hamstring tightness, and Smart sat out because of a sore ankle.
Brogdon said he suffered the injury in the first half of Boston’s Nov. 9 win over the Pistons when he stopped after running downcourt. But he said he has progressed quickly over the past week and that this injury is not serious.
“The trajectory we’re on, we’re playing really good basketball, and it’s so early in the season,” Brogdon said. “We just don’t want to take any chances and don’t want this to be anything that lingers.”
Tatum takes a side trip
Former Duke star Jayson Tatum traveled to Indianapolis on Tuesday to attend the Blue Devils’ game against Kansas in the Champions Classic. Duke, which is being coached by longtime assistant Jon Scheyer following Mike Krzyzewski’s retirement, lost to the Jayhawks, 69-64.
“It was cool,” Tatum said. “Good to see the guys, be in the college basketball atmosphere and see some of the young guys coming up. I obviously support Duke and Jon and all those guys on staff. It’s always good to see those guys and all the trainers.”
Tatum flew to Atlanta after the game and said he arrived at around 1 a.m..
Celtics forward Sam Hauser, whose brother, Joey, plays for Michigan State, wasn’t able to attend the Spartans’ double-overtime win over Kentucky in the first game of the Champions Classic, but he watched on television as Joey erupted for 26 points.
“He played awesome, man,” Hauser said. “It brings a smile to my face. I only want him to do well. I want him to have a great year and have his team play well. They’ve had a great start to the year and he’s done a great job as well. I know he worked really hard this offseason so I’m glad to see it’s paying off so far.”
Hauser said he and his brother used to have intense one-on-one battles in their family’s driveway. Now, they talk on the phone or exchange text messages after each Celtics and Spartans game.
“I’m just there to keep his spirits up, and vice versa,” Hauser said. “He’s smart enough to know what he needs to do better on the basketball floor and I’m just there to keep his spirits up and keep him in the right mental state.”