Without KG, the Boston Celtics have been like a young Simba after the death of Mufasa at the paws of Scar. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen “The Lion King,” let me refresh your memory.
Scar, Simba’s uncle, throws Mufasa off the side of a cliff into an oncoming stampede, then blames the naive Simba for the death of his father. A heartbroken Simba flees into the jungle where he befriends Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat and a warthog, who live by the motto “hakuna matata,” or “no worries for the rest of your days.” Eerily similar to the lacksadaisical attitude of of the struggling Celtics who don’t seem to be too worried about ANYTHING lately.
Simba only returns to Pride Rock when his girlfriend convinces him to come take a look at the pride without him, and he sees his mother get knocked around by Scar.
Well, Garnett has returned to Pride Rock, and has seen his pride (team) destroyed and his mother (Doc Rivers) bitch-slapped by Scar (injuries, bad luck, etc.).
And tonight, The King of Jungle returns to fight ‘Scar’ and regain his throne.
Enough of the extended metaphor which probably only makes sense to me; KG is back, and with him the Celtics have their leader who will challenge for an NBA title. On to the keys of the game…
Keys to the Game:
- Rajon Rondo vs. Andre Miller- Miller is a good offensive PG, but he has never been a good defender and has zero chance of staying in front of Rondo. Rondo needs to be aggressive early and often, taking what the defense gives him: either easy baskets for him, or others.
- Injuries- In an upset, the Celtics might actually have the advantage tonight as far as injuries go; KG should be returning to the lineup, while Blazers will be without Brandon Roy (sore hamstring) as well as injured centers Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla.
- Get Ray some easy looks early- Poor Ray Allen has been struggling mightly with his shot lately. But with a shooter like Ray, a few early makes could be enough to break him out of his slump.
- Defending LaMarcus Aldridge- Aldridge is an extremely versatile PF, and without Roy in the lineup, will be leaned on heavily by the Blazers. Offensively, Aldrige reminds me a lot of KG: good shooter, finesse post game, occasionally too unselfish. Boston has had trouble guarding these types of skilled big men recently, so we’ll see if KG’s return helps that problem
- Kevin Garnett Returns?!- Enough said.