What did losing Kevin Garnett mean to the Boston Celtics? (ESPN Boston)
“It’s like losing your best defensive player, your best talker, your quarterback,” Rivers said Sunday before deadpanning that “outside of that, it’s not that big of a deal.”
In other words, losing Garnett meant everything. And getting him back tonight (hopefully) should solve many issues. It should push Glen Davis back into a more natural role, improve the C’s rebounding, improve the C’s defense, and solve the world’s recent shortage in sports-related cussing.
As John from Red’s Army noted, most arguments about the C’s MVP this season come down to two names: Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo. Though Rondo is piecing together one of the most prolific passing campaigns in NBA history, it’s difficult to look at everything Garnett provides — from on-court chatter, to pure heart, to voltage levels that exceed legal limits — and say Number Five is anything but the C’s most important player. I’m not saying I would choose Garnett in that “Celtics MVP” conversation, and I’m not saying otherwise. But his presence means so much to these Celtics. Even Stevie Wonder can see that.
When the C’s last played the Orlando Magic, on Christmas Day, what resulted was a 48-minute batch of ugliness that ended in Celtics defeat. Rondo’s absence hurt the C’s that day, but couldn’t explain all the shoddy play.
“We played horrible down the stretch,” Rivers admitted. “Listen, that game down there, I don’t think either team was proud of the way they played. I think both teams were proud of the way they competed; it just wasn’t played very well.
“Honestly, we got great possessions down the stretch. We showed [the players on film Sunday]. If we replayed that game and got the exact same shots, I guarantee our guys would take them. We missed great shots, but I think we were more upset that we gave up 29 points in [the fourth quarter of] a game [when] no one was scoring.”
I’m a basketball fiend, and thus enjoy watching games even when the Minnesota Timberwolves spar toe-to-toe with the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers. So when the Boston Celtics host the Orlando Magic, and Kevin Garnett returns on the same night (hopefully), my blood tends to boil like this guy’s skin.
The Eastern Conference championship won’t be won tonight. I know that, you know that, and both teams know that. But if you want to tell me this game’s just a normal regular season game, save your breath. When these two Eastern Conference titans meet each other, it means something more. Something better.
And if Garnett still doesn’t play tonight, three weeks after Danny Ainge set Garnett’s timetable as “two weeks, and I think that’s on a very conservative side”?
Maybe it’s time to worry.