PORTLAND, Ore. — When the Trail Blazers allowed Ed Davis to leave after three seasons to sign as a free agent with the Nets last summer, his Portland teammates reacted with great disappointment at losing a guy who did all the dirty work for them and was a mature presence in the locker room.
Davis returned to Moda Center on Monday night for the first time to face his former team, but he downplayed any revenge motive because of the game’s importance to the Nets’ playoff push.
“We’ve got to go there with the mindset we’re trying to get a win,” he said before pulling down 14 rebounds in the Nets’ 148-144 double-overtime loss. “The rest of these games are big for us. We’ve just got to lock in and do whatever it takes to get a win.”
Nets coach Kenny Atkinson noted that the Trail Blazers beat the Nets soundly at Barclays Center in the first game out of the All-Star break. “We’ve got another shot,” he said. “It’s a tough game on the road against a team that’s playing very well. Ed’s coming off a great game against the Lakers — his rebounding, finishing, everything. He was great. I hope he can carry that over. You always want to play well against your ex-team.”
Davis, known for his defense and rebounding, is averaging a career-high 8.6 rebounds per game and leads the Nets with a 100.2 net defensive rating. He recently passed Kevin McHale to rank as the second-leading rebounder off the bench in NBA history behind Paul Silas.
Davis had 14 points and 15 rebounds against the Lakers, and Atkinson is encouraging him to score in the pick-and-roll.
“I always tell him, ‘You’re a better roller than you think you are,’ ” Atkinson said. “He’s really good at it, and he’s got to continue to do it.”
Told he looked good dunking lobs that D’Angelo Russell fed him, Davis said, “I took him out to dinner a couple times, so he’s taking care of me now.”