Tag:Kevin Garnett
Posted on: January 21, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 2:00 pm

Glen Davis and the starter vs. bench element

Posted by Matt Moore

Glen Davis started while Garnett was out with his calf. And, well, er... it didn't go well, even with a 6-3 record. He was good, but he wasn't the force he's been off the bench. He shot 21-66 from mid-range and wasn't as good a rebounder as he usually is off the bench. WEEI in Boston asked him about the pressure of being a starter and Davis admitted it got in his head a bit. 
“It’s all mental,” he said. “I was kind too hard on myself when I was starting. I wanted to prove to Doc [Rivers] and prove to my teammates … The difference between that and the playoffs is I just went and played. That’s what I do when I come off the bench, I just go out and play. I put a lot of pressure on myself.  I got out of myself and tried to be something [else]. That’s now how it works. You have to be yourself. I had a couple of good games, but as far as all-around games, the way I know I can play, I didn’t bring it. Now being on the bench you get back to the same mentality.”
via Green Street » Glen Davis acknowledges starting affected him mentally .

Davis, who was Ken Berger's pick for Sixth Man of the Year, is averaging 14, 4, and 2 as a starter, but shooting just 41%. As a reserve, he averages 12.2 points, but rebounds better at 5.7 per game in fewer minutes. He also shoots 48% off the pine, a considerable improvement. He even shoots better at the line as a reserve, proving that the mental aspect has an impact here.  Davis is not a great player. He can be great, in certain games, particularly big ones, though. That's the paradox that Davis exists as.   He seems constantly on the verge of collapse, or tripping over his own feet. He drools. No, for real, he drools . But he also has a masterful reverse layup that, while seemingly averse to the laws of physics and our determination of form in any degree, also goes in a high percentage of the time. His jumper can be an absolute clunker in some games and the definitive reason for a Celtics' victory in others.  And no one takes charges as well as he does at this point. He's a worthy championship player.  But he has to come off the bench.

(HT: Reds Army)
Posted on: January 17, 2011 11:56 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2011 12:01 am

Celtics close out Magic and a question of respect

Celtics' Big 3 take over down the stretch, as the Celtics regain the upper hand. Question is, is there a respect gap between Boston and Orlando?
Posted by Matt Moore

Welcome back, Kevin Garnett. And welcome back, playoff atmosphere, TD Northbank Garden. And welcome back, Celtics closing out big games. After the Celtcs blew a sizeable lead on Christmas to the Magic, they turned the tables on Orlando Monday night, with Kevin Garnett at the center of it all. Garnett snatched a huge steal to seize the game, throwing the outlet to Ray Allen who managed to run off several seconds before being fouled with the C's up 3. Celtics defeat Magic, 109-106 .

But Garnett's play was so much more than that in his return. And it was more than the 19 points and 8 rebounds he put in on the stat sheet. The defensive energy picked up as Garnett started barking orders, and the Big 3 looked very much like the components who ripped through the Eastern Conference last year with Rondo also doing his part. But it was the Big 3 who sealed this. Pierce with a combination of his patented pump-fake to draw the foul and his patented corner jumper set the Celtics up for their three-point advantage, but it was Ray Allen constantly nailing tough jumpers off multiple screens which allowed the Celtics to match Orlando three-for-three. Then Garnett with the steal, and that's your game. 

So the question you're left with, after all the history between these two teams, and with the season series knotted at 1-1 is this: Does Boston respect Orlando? And the feeling you get is no. Not at all. Not even now. 

Kevin Garnett was his usual bullying, screaming, spitting self, and at one point he and Dwight Howard had a staredown of sorts which epitomized the two players. Garnett mouthing and snapping like a guard dog, staring down Howard. Howard laughing and confused at what Garnett was doing. In the end, Howard walked away, which you'd criticize him for, if it weren't for his technical foul situation and the need for him to stay in the game. But it was very much a study in contrast of personality, if not character. Garnett not only refuses to back down to anyone, but constantly chests into everyone. He'll start a confrontation with anyone (the question of him ending said conflicts is another, more complicated issue that involves a lot of "hands up, walk away" behavior).  Howard on the other hand, is smiling, pleasant, still the laughing man-child, even as his status as a franchise leader requires more out of him. And perhaps for that, along with the equally complicated issue of how the officials treat both teams, Boston continues to appear to take Orlando as a second-rate squad.

For all the success, Orlando's had, Boston holds this attitude still. After the Magic were eliminated from the Finals in 2009, Paul Pierce referred to the Magic as "poodles." This after Orlando had eliminated the Celtics in seven games without the services of Kevin Garnett, which allowed both the teams and the fans to dismiss the win entirely. This despite the Magic also having considerable regular season success against the Celtics as well, and eliminating the Celtics on their home floor in a Game 7. But the fact they needed seven games spoke loudly to many. That attitude was furthered when Boston easily dispatched Orlando in the 2010 playoffs. So the two have quite a bit of history, even with all the changes to both teams, and yet there is still an attitude gap with Boston. 

But that could be more about the Celtics in general than the Magic specifically. There's a begrudging respect for the Lakers after being defeated by them last spring. But the Celtics rely on their brash, overtly physical, cocky attitude to take over games mentally. To surrender that attitude with any measure of respect would decrease their edge. 

So what will it take for Orlando to win Boston's respect? No amount of regular season wins, or close losses, will do it. They have to topple them in the playoffs, with the Celtics at full-strength. And with Kendrick Perkins close to returning, Delonte West back soon after that, and the C's still capable of that extra gear that blasted them through the entire East last year, it's hard to see Orlando hitting that gear. Respect has to be earned, and the Magic need so much to go right in order for them to do just that. 

Some final game notes: 
  • Bizarre game for Jason Richardson. Started off terribly, forcing shots and looking lost in his role. Then he started to step into shots in the second half, and looked on his way to a solid game. Then he was put on Ray Allen for a long stretch in the fourth instead of J.J. Redick (who may be the best Ray Allen defender in the league), and Allen just destroyed him. He had no idea how to handle him or the multitude of screens the Celtics routinely send Allen off.
  • That Allen wound up 8-11 shows you how good he is. J.J. Redick was right with him on every attempt when he was on the floor, but Allen adjusted, even hitting shots off the dribble.
  • Ryan Anderson was the story in the first half for the Magic, but the Celtics adjusted rapidly in the second half, allowing Davis to extend further than his usual range to guard him on the perimeter. Then, when Anderson attempted to dribble around Davis and his round mound, help was constantly there, either from the corner or the elbow. Just enough to take a not-great-dribbler off his dribble and end the possession. Great adjustment by Doc Rivers.
  • Shaquille O'Neal is getting so much credit from people for his play. And while the offensive work with Rondo is nice (who can't score with Rondo helping you?), O'Neal had as many turnovers as rebounds Monday night. Two.
  • Dwight Howard was great on offense (33 points) and did his work on the glass (13). But zero blocks for the reigning defensive player of the year and he was missed inside on several possessions. Howard seemed to A. want to avoid early fouls and B. want to extend too much to attack the Celtics at the point of paint penetration, instead of managing the rim defense.
Posted on: January 16, 2011 2:09 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2011 5:56 pm

Kevin Garnett expected to return Monday

Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett has been sidelined for more than two weeks with a calf strain, but could return to the court on Monday  kevin-garnett night.

Posted by Ben Golliver.

Back on Dec. 29, the Celts fans and the sports blogosphere held their breath as K.G. suffered a leg injury while dunking against the Pistons. The injury turned out to be a calf strain and Garnett's timeline for return was pegged at a "couple of weeks."

Sunday, a little more than two weeks after the injury, the Celtics reported that Garnett went through an entire practice and that "it sounds as if he will be in the lineup tomorrow night against the Orlando Magic." ESPNBoston.com reported Garnett is "50/50" for tomorrow and "will wait to test himself again at shootaround on Monday before deciding if he's a go."

According to WEEI , Celtics coach Doc Rivers told the media on Sunday, "I think Kevin will go tomorrow. We went to practice to see if he could go tomorrow. Meaning we’ll know that by tomorrow. If he feels good, he’ll go. If there’s anything [wrong], he will not go. I would probably put it back to 50-50." 

This news firms up a report from last week that listed Monday as Garnett's likely return date.

The Celtics host the Magic on Monday night in a matchup of two of the NBA's premier teams. The Celts are 30-9 on the season; the Magic, 26-14. Boston lost to Orlando 86-78 on Christmas Day in the only meeting between the teams so far this season.

Without Garnett, the Celtics are 6-3 this season. The 13-time All-Star is averaging 15 points, 9.5 rebounds, two assists and 1.7 steals in 31.6 minutes so far this season.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 11:35 am
Edited on: January 11, 2011 7:15 pm

Report: Rasheed Wallace considers Celtics return?

Rasheed Wallace is reportedly considering a return to the Boston Celtics. Posted by Ben Golliver. rasheed-wallace

Last summer, former NBA All-Star power forward Rasheed Wallace called it quits, walking away from more than $12 million to retire after 15 seasons, following the Boston Celtics' loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 NBA Finals.

Stephen A. Smith told the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday, however, that Wallace may be plotting a comeback with his former team. 
Smith said that the Celtics counter the Heat's athleticism with "brute size" and Rasheed Wallace will come out of retirement to come back to the Celtics.
Smith said Wallace told him that's the plan, because he wants another shot at the Lakers in the NBA Finals.
The Celtics currently have the league-maximum 15 players under contract, so they would need to waive someone to create a roster spot for Wallace if they are seriously considering the possibility of bringing him back. Should guard Delonte West fully recover from his wrist surgery, as expected, guard Von Wafer would be expendable and relatively cheap (less than $1 million) to waive.

Do the Celtics really need Wallace? At first glance, they already seem to be maxed out on washed-up former All-Star big men clinging to the remnants of their NBA careers, thanks to Jermaine O'Neal and Shaquille O'Neal. Once Kendrick Perkins returns from his knee injury, there won't be many, if any, minutes available for Wallace, provided everyone stays healthy. 

The biggest variable here is the health of starting power forward Kevin Garnett, who recently suffered a calf strain that kept him out of action. Reserve forward Glen Davis has filled in admirably when Garnett hasn't been able to go, but an extra body at the four position might make for some added disaster preparedness should Garnett continue to be limited.

But we've also seen this same scenario play out 1,000 times: competitive former champions step away from basketball before they are mentally prepared to completely give up the game. We should know soon whether this is seriously being considered or merely another former athlete jonesing for another hit of playoff competition.

Update (7:13 PM): In less than a few hours, it appears that we have our answer. NBA Fanhouse reports that Wallace's agent, Bill Strickland, said Tuesday a return to the Celtics is not imminent for Wallace. ""I don't think that's the case -- for now anyway," Strickland told FanHouse. "He has a period of time to where he may be thinking about it, but he has not given me any indication of his intent to return. ... He's still saying that for now he's good, that he's OK where he is." CSNNE.com also quoted Celtics coach Doc Rivers saying that "there has been no discussion" about a Wallace return.
Posted on: January 8, 2011 4:41 pm

Celtics could get back Perkins and Garnett soon

Posted by Royce Young

Via ESPN Boston, Celtics center Kendrick Perkins said he feels optimistic about returning to game action in as little as three weeks. On top of that, Doc Rivers said Kevin Garnett could be back in Boston's starting five as early as Monday.

Rivers said of Garnett: "He's shooting, doing everything. I think he'll be back early next week."

In other words, celebrate Celtic fans. Help is a comin'. Not that they really needed it that bad.

Rivers was asked if Garnett needed any practice time to get ready and the always clever Rivers said, "We're just going to throw him in. If he can't remember the stuff, we're in trouble."

Perkins, who tore his right ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, was given clearance to begin contact activities and has participated in 3-on-3 drills and games. Perkins told reporters he plans to resume full-team practice next week and seems to feel good about being back in three weeks. Which would put on the roster for the Celtics' West Coast trip, which includes the first game with the Lakers on Jan. 30.

The question is, what does the Celtic rotation look like with Perkins back? Does anyone have playing time squeezed? With Perkins likely starting at center, that puts Jermaine O'Neal and Shaquille O'Neal behind him.

Most teams don't play three centers so it's definitely something to keep an eye on. Rivers has always been a fan of a deep bench and he's never been afraid to use everyone on it. So honestly it wouldn't be shocking if he worked players in and had 10 or 11 in the rotation. Especially since the Celtics are a bit on the old side, so keeping minutes down for Garnett, Perkins, and the O'Neal's is definitely a good idea.

Perkins is a free agent after this season, so he certainly has more to play for than just the Celtics at this point. He has to prove he's back and healthy. Motivation on numerous front: a good thing.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 7:57 pm

Could Erik Spoelstra wind up as All-Star coach?

Erik Spoelstra has a better than decent shot at being named All-Star coach for the East. 
Posted by Matt Moore

If things were to continue on the pace they're going, with the Boston Celtics sliding due to injury and the Heat rolling through weak opponents, Erik Spoelstra could wind up as coach of the Eastern Conference team at All-Star Weekend. It would be a tremendous honor for the young coach, and be a reflection that he's done, particularly since there was a tremendous amount of fire on him with rumors that he was close to being canned. 

It would also be a really awkward situation. 

Also on that squad will be Boston Celtics and New York Knicks and Orlando Magic players. And while every year there's one team better represented than the rest, with three possible representatives on one team, there could be some ugliness about having their coach on the roster as well. Granted, most of the time these guys put aside their differences and just hang out as professionals, but Spoelstra's a young coach with three stars who pretty much do what they want on his roster, and in the All-Star game (should Bosh wind up making the cut). It's hard to see Kevin Garnett being too respectful of that development, or Paul Pierce, or Dwight Howard, all of whom have expressed frustration with the amount of press the Heat have gotten. 

It should also be mentioned that between now and then, the Heat play the Thunder, the Bulls, the Magic, and the Celtics, which is a pretty steep hill to climb on top of all the other games in order to close the half-game gap the Celtics currently enjoy. The Celtics have less incentive to push themselves and more incentive to coast, so this is still very much possible, but it's far from a lock. 

Either way, it would be a great turnaround for a coach on the hot seat for much of the season. 
Posted on: January 3, 2011 8:49 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2011 2:31 pm

David Kahn predicts Darko will be an NBA All-Star

Minnesota Timberwolves President David Kahn predicts center Darko Milicic will be an NBA All-Star in the future. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Minnesota Timberwolves President David Kahn is well known for saying and doing things that don't make any sense, and he was up to his old tricks once again during Monday night's Fox Sports North telecast of the Timberwolves' game against the Boston Celtics.

During the second quarter, Kahn joined Tom Hanneman and Jim Petersen to chat about a number of topics. The conversation eventually turned to center Darko Milicic, a player whose name has become virtually synonymous with draft bust, but whom Kahn gave a massive contract to last summer. Here's how the conversation unfolded.
Petersen: "Darko Milicic has also been a huge find. He's been a great influence on this team. The size of Darko Milicic against Shaquille O'Neal is so unbelievably handy in this ballgame, you can see what Darko is becoming. He's come a long way and I think you guys have a lot of credit to be had for bringing Darko here to Minnesota."
Kahn: "Thank you, Jim, but I met with Darko today because I hadn't talked to him in awhile, and I think there's just still so much more to come. And I think that we expect it out of him. It's not enough, is what I'm trying to say. We think that Darko can actually get to sort of a near All-Star if not All-Star level. There's not a lot of quality centers in our sport. There's no reason to think that a year from now if Darko were to continue his trajectory upwards, he couldn't be in the mix about a year from now for the All-Star game."
Petersen: "All you've got to do is look at the Western Conference ballot for the All-Star game and see that there's not a lot of good centers. Darko's got a chance to be a very good center in the Western Conference."

Can't believe your eyes reading that transcript? Watch the video to hear the exchange for yourself.

Previously, of course, Kahn referred to Milicic as "manna from heaven," so perhaps we shouldn't be that surprised by this bold declaration. Still, it's ridiculous. Milicic will never, ever, ever be voted in by the fans, and the coaches who select the All-Star reserves are notorious for favoring players from winning teams or those with big numbers. 

On the season, Milicic is averaging 9.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 24.2 minutes per game. The Timberwolves sported a 9-25 record entering Monday night's game against the Celtics. 

In case you were wondering, the Timberwolves franchise has only had four separate players selected to an All-Star game during its 22 seasons of existence, and hasn't had an NBA All-Star since 2007, when Kevin Garnett was selected.
Posted on: January 3, 2011 7:29 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2011 7:32 pm

CBSSports.com NBA Videos: 01.03.2011

2011's first weekly dose of CBSSports.com NBA video content. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Welcome to the first week of 2011, and here's the year's first serving (a big helping) of CBSSports.com NBA video content. 

Get it started with the Starting Five, a question and answer rundown of some of this week's hot topics. Yours truly joined hosts Adam Aizer and Greg Urbano to discuss the injury to Kevin Garnett, the Miami Heat's surge, the Houston Rockets' playoff chances and whether Chicago can contend. Also, do the San Antonio Spurs have what it takes to win 72 games? 

Take a look and have a listen.

Also this week, Aizer and Urbano break down the NBA Coach of the Year race to date. Texas shows well in the discussion, with Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich among the leaders. 

But, wait, there's more. The guys also discussed their weekly power rankings, which you can watch right here

And if you're looking for even more NBA audio content with a fantasy focus, check out this week's CBSSports Fantasy Basketball Podcast, which discusses recent injuries to Mavericks forward Caron Butler and New York Knicks forward Danilo Gallinari. You can also read more on Gallinari's knee sprain here.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com