Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Garnett’
The five-time defending Atlantic Division Champion Boston Celtics come to Brooklyn tonight to take on the Nets in the first regular season game between these two franchises.
Coach Doc Rivers’ guys beat the Utah Jazz in Boston last night, 98-93, taking their record to 5-3. PG Rajon Rondo left the contest in the third quarter with a right ankle injury and is listed as day-to-day.
Rondo still managed to dish 10 dimes in his 32nd straight game with at least 10 or more assists, and he currently leads the NBA with 12.5 apg.
First-year Celtic and 2007 6th Man of The Year combo-guard Leandro Barbosa stepped in for Rondo and scored 16 points in the victory. Both the Celts’ and Nets’ coaching staffs are still trying to figure out their starting units and how to use the bench players in their rotations.
Boston has a deep, veteran roster including Jeff Green, who’s back from heart surgery and added 16 points in Wednesday’s win. Bench play will have a significant impact on tonight’s results as well.
The 4-2 Brooklyn squad last played on Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They prevailed 114-101 with Joe Johnson and Deron Williams both scoring season highs of 25 and 26 respectively. First-year Net Johnson had his best game yet of the early season and will continue to improve as he adjusts to his new teammates, especially D-Will.
The C’s beat the Nets in all three matchups last season and have won 18 of the last 20 games. However, this Brooklyn incarnation is very different than the 2011-2012 NJ version.
Fifth-year center Brook Lopez is healthy, and he’s averaging 17.5 ppg and 2.3 bpg so far after missing 61 of 66 games last year due to various injuries. Unfortunately, do-everything forward Gerald Wallace will miss his sixth straight game due to a sprained left ankle.
Though it’s early in the season, tonight’s matchup could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. Join me, Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Craig Sager at 8PM ET on TNT to watch two top teams in the East ignite what is sure to be a long rivalry between these division foes.
The Celtics stole Game 5 in Miami and will return to Beantown with a chance to close out the ECF on Thursday. Their anchor, on the floor and emotionally, has been the 17th-year ‘Big Ticket’ Kevin Garnett. Through a rough, up-and-down regular season and 18 postseason games thus far, future HOF’er Garnett has provided increased production on both ends of the court as well as the leadership that few in the NBA posses.
36-year-old KG is averaging 19.9 ppg, 10.8 rpg and 1.6 apg in 37.3 grueling minutes of competition each night. His intensity and consistency allow him to affect the game on almost every play. On Sunday in Boston, Garnett had 17 points, 14 boards, 5 blocks, 3 dimes and 2 steals in a game that the Celtics had to win in order to avoid going down 3-1 before heading to Miami for Game 5. After helping his teammates tie the series, Garnett followed up with a 26-point performance and 11 rebounds in Tuesday’s thrilling 94–90 coup on the Heat’s home turf, giving the Celts a 3-2 lead.
Garnett has surpassed his regular season high of 25 points four times in he playoffs, and he only failed to score in double digits once. In addition, his rebounding, shot-blocking and steals have all increased in the postseason, and Garnett is shooting 80% from the line and 50% from the field. While playing out of position at the 5, KG has yet to foul out in the playoffs. This is especially impressive in the Miami series considering two of the games went to OT.
The Boston fandom felt that there was a three-year championship window when C’s GM Danny Ainge traded to get Garnett in 2007. Well, this is year 5 of the new ‘Big 3’ + Rondo era, and the Celtics are one victory away from reaching the Finals for the third time (2008, 2010) with KG in the Green & White. His mental toughness, savvy and amazing athleticism have Boston in a position that few hoopsheads predicted at the start of the 2011-2012 season or when the playoffs began. If this is Garnett’s last year with the C’s (his contract is up) then he’s determined to leave it all on the floor and to hang another banner from the rafters before the end of his legendary career as a Celtic.
The Boston Celtics come to the Land of Lincoln tonight to face off against the Chicago Bulls. This will be game #78 for both sides. First-year headman Tom Thibodeau has guided the Bulls to the top spot in the Eastern Conference at 57-20. Coach Doc Rivers, now in his seventh year in the lead chair for the storied Celtics, has led his recently-changed squad to a mark of 54-23, good for second in the East – three games behind the guys in Red & Black.
If one-time league MVP Kevin Garnett and the rest of the veteran Beantown B-Ballers hope to catch 2011 MVP-race leader, third-year PG Derrick Rose and company, the 48 minutes at the United Center this evening is a must have win.
This game is the fourth and final matchup between these talented teams. The C’s bested the Bulls in two of the first three contests this 2010-2011 campaign, with both victories coming at home. Coach Thibodeau spent three seasons as Rivers’ lead assistant in Boston before he became Chicago’s head coach in the off-season. He knows the Celtics’ roster and helped them set up defensive schemes that limited some of the league’s top scorers and offenses. In fact, Boston currently leads the NBA in team defense, allowing a mere 90.8 points against. Chicago has also taken to Thibodeau’s lock-down philosophy of help-defense and is second out of all 30 teams with 91.5 points against.
The Bulls beat the visiting Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night 97-94. Chicago is an intimidating 34-5 in front of their home fans. They have won their last four games and have been bested in only two of their last 18 games total. They seem to be peaking at just the right time, and a big part of this is that they have their top guys all relatively healthy.
The Celtics are just 13-9 since sending starting center Kendrick Perkins and guard Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder for 6’9” forward Jeff Green and 7’0” center Nenad Krstic at the trading deadline in February. This past Tuesday at the TD Garden, the Celts convincingly beat the Philadelphia Sixers 99-82 in a possible first round playoff preview. The Green have played very well at home this year going 31-8, while they are an easier out on the road at 23-15. However, a week ago tonight Boston got perhaps their biggest road win of the year in San Antonio (107-97), giving the NBA-leading Spurs just their fifth loss at home this season.
The road in the East to the 2011 NBA Finals will at some point have to go through the 17-banner Celtics as well as the 6-banner Bulls. With the regular season ending in less than a week, all 16 playoff-bound teams are hoping to close out the 82 with positive momentum headed into the NBA’s exclusive postseason after-party.
Marv and I will be in the booth for tonight’s pivotal game: Celtics @ Bulls starts at 8:00 PM ET on TNT.