How much does Kevin Garnett have left in the tank? Probably not too much, but still enough to avoid getting traded by the Boston Celtics, and still enough to pull of big nights once in a while.
Paul Pierce has been the man leading the Celtics’ offense since Rajon Rondo went down, making quite a few curious about whether or not the Celtics are a better team without their attention loving point guard. Kevin Garnett? He’s been having up and down nights, with his ability to put in an effort and show his ability of old slowly fading away, but just like Pierce, he has done a good job in rising to the occasion and so far stepping in not just for the injured Rondo in terms of leadership and influence, but also for not having the kind of support he did from the bench a few weeks ago.
Winning in Toronto isn’t exactly the hardest challenge in the world this season in the NBA; the Raptors are 12-13 at home, very competitive every game but always falling short in the final quarters, this time outscore by the Celtics 16-30 in the fourth, en route to a 99-95 loss. Kevin Garnett had his highest scoring game of the season with 27 points and 10 rebounds, showing that despite the rumors, he’s not going anywhere, and neither is his ability to dominate once in a while.
We’re fighters. We’re a team that’s going to compete for 48 minutes. It’s not always pretty. We’re not perfect. We’re human beings. But we play hard, we do our best to go out and try to perfect the game plan.
The Celtics were struggling on offense up until the fourth quarter, when Jason Terry started yelling at the guys on the bench to start picking up the pace and lose the sloppiness.
The message was simple. The ball will find the open guy. You don’t have to dribble around and create your own shot. We’ve got enough scoring. Space the floor and play together. And I think that’s what we did.
Terry scored only two points on the night, but was part of the small lineup the Celtics used in the fourth quarter, with Garnett, Pierce, Barbosa and Jeff Green as they simply started playing faster basketball which the Toronto Raptors couldn’t keep up with. Rudy Gay is bringing some impressive scoring with him to Canada, putting up 25 points (8-24 from the field), averaging 24.7 points since coming from Memphis via trade.
Andrea Bargnani, someone the Raptors are looking to trade, was back after missing 26 games due to a torn ligament in his right elbow. He scored 13 points, and his return should help the Raptors offensively, although that doesn’t mean he’ll be staying for the team for much longer.
As for the Celtics, they’ve now won five consecutive games, in a season that’s been about streaks for them. They got 14 points from Barbosa off the bench and double figures from their entire starting lineup, which is surprising in the case of Bradley and Lee, who haven’t been lighting it up so far. For now, they’re exceeding expectations in the way they’ve handled the Rondo situation. Who knows, maybe Rivers giving the keys to his point guard before the season began wasn’t such a great idea, and by relaying on the two remaining veterans, more than ever before, he has himself a better team.