I’ve written a few “KG’s prime is behind him” articles, so when the man plays well it’s time to give him a shoutout.
And he’s been playing very well of late.
Last night wasn’t Garnett’s best offensive output, as his mere 12 points would indicate, but his impact has never been simply about big numbers. Against the Bobcats, he was as disruptive as we’ve seen him all year long. Those long arms were everywhere, blocking four shots and accumulating two steals, but — again — it’s not the stats that make Garnett so effective. He didn’t allow the Bobcats to get anything easy.
A Charlotte player would drive to the hoop, thinking he was wide open, and there was KG to slide in and contest a shot. His rotations were impeccable, and the effect was contagious: Charlotte shot only 36.0% from the field. Granted, Charlotte’s about as much of an offensive juggernaut as the Oakland Raiders, but to hold any NBA team to shooting that poor is an accomplishment.
I don’t want to say KG’s back, because he isn’t, and he probably never will be. But Kendrick Perkins disagrees. (Boston Herald)
“He’s back,” said Kendrick Perkins. “You can tell just how he got up on the shot-block. I thought the way he was blocking shots tonight was great. His help defense was great, the way he was spreading the court. As long as he keeps getting healthy with his leg, you can tell it’s coming. He’s picking it up.”
Doc Rivers was quick to point out there is more to come, but he’s seen enough in the last few weeks to know the real KG is in the mail.
“I’ve been watching him so closely all year,” Rivers said. “I just think he’s improving, you know, slowly. Even when he’s on his bad nights, you can see some of the good things he’s doing that he couldn’t do earlier. So it’s just going to take time, but he’s getting better. This is the best he’s been in a while with his movement.
“He’s not going to just wake up and be great. Each day he’s getting closer to great.”
Garnett might not just wake up and be great, but he’s certainly improved in leaps and bounds — quite literally — over the past few weeks. He’s starting to round into shape at a pivotal time, while the Celtics try to make a run in preparation of the playoffs. Just like his team, Garnett has waited all year to start playing better basketball. (same Herald article)
“You know it’s the second half,” Garnett said. “I think that everyone’s starting to pick their play up. Paul has been banged up a little bit, so it is good to see him have a game like this. Everybody’s picking their play up, and I’m no different from that.
“I told you I wanted to be a lot more aggressive (in the) second half of the year. I want to personally just have a nice rhythm going into playoffs. I am taking one game at a time, a day at a time. But as we get healthy, I think that you’ll start to see a better team. . . . I’m just trying to up my play. That’s all.”
Up his play, indeed. Garnett has played his best basketball of the season in the past few games, and his impact hasn’t just been limited to the defensive end. He’s scoring the ball more consistently, and his double-double against Cleveland — his first since Dec. 18 — has been followed by two near double-doubles (26 points, 9 rebounds and 14 points, 9 rebounds) and last night’s complete effort. Garnett is doing it all, and Paul Pierce thinks the Celtics should let him do even more. (same Herald article)
“I mean, he means everything to what we try to do out there,” said Pierce, who turned in a nifty 9-for-13, 27-point flashback himself. “In our system, he is the biggest key. That’s why we can’t advance without him, especially in playoffs.
“He just (attracts) so much attention – his ability to do it all. You know, I think that we should play through him a lot more than what we do at times. I think we will continue to do that, give him the ball in the (low) post, the high post where he can be a passer or a scorer and do a number of things that he does to make this a better team.”
Garnett the facilitator, Garnett the scorer, Garnett the rebounder, Garnett the defender.
Garnett the improved.