Back on Wednesday, Glen Davis told the media that he believes that the Boston Celtics' bench is "way stronger" than that of the Miami Heat, the team's second round 2011 NBA Playoffs opponent. Not only is it an ultimately fair assessment of the situation, but Davis is really the major reason why Boston's bench is better.
Both teams' backcourt depth stinks; the Celtics have the solid Delonte West but no one else who could conceivably be relied upon in a tight playoff series. The Heat have Mike Miller, who has been a major disappointment, and Mario Chalmers, who is uneven and needs to be hitting his deep shots to contribute anything. On the wings Boston has Jeff Green (no comment), and Miami counters with James Jones and Miller.
But the frontcourt is where Boston takes the advantage, with Davis perhaps the best back-up big man in the league not named Lamar Odom. Miami has Joel Anthony, a defender and shotblocker, but Davis' impact is likely greater in total thanks to his defensive rebounding. (For all of Anthony's energy, he's an atrocious rebounder for the position. Davis isn't great, but is better.)
The one man who could swing the bench battle isn't Shaquille O'Neal, who looks unlikely to big a major factor in the series. It's Udonis Haslem, Shaq's old Miami enforcer. Haslem was one of the more important pieces of the Heat's 2006 championship, and could be back for this series after missing the regular season. Davis could find himself having trouble scoring if Haslem is assigned to watch him.