Portland (26-17) @ Boston (27-13)
Time: Friday, January 22nd, 7:30PM EST
Venue: TD Garden
TV: CSNNE, CSN-POR Radio: WEEI
The Count: Home Game 19 (11-7), Home stand 1 of 2
Now, he's back, and things will be fine (Hey la, hey la, our K-G's back!)
Portland's gonna be sorry they were ever born (Hey la, hey la, our K-G's back!)
'Cause he's kind of big and he's awful strong (Hey la, hey la, our K-G's back!)
That stuff from before? Forgotten. Those last couple of games (5 of the last 7 to be exact)? Don't worry about it. The ridiculous shot selection, weight and profanity issues, emotional unpredictability, and stone hands? I'll let it slide. It doesn't matter anymore, because tonight it's all over. Kids in the Hall isn't the only thing making a return to tv. Kevin Garnett is back, baby!
And boy, did we miss him. ESPN was nice enough to give us all a peek into just how much with an article released today.
However, perhaps no player in the league matches Garnett's overall defensive impact. He is to the defense what a great point guard is to the offense. He makes his teammates better, covers up their mistakes and changes the tenor of the game. The numbers tell the story.
With Garnett in the lineup, the Celtics are allowing 91.8 ppg and holding opponents to a 43.8 field goal percentage. Without him, they allow 98.9 ppg and a 46.2 field goal percentage. In 11 games without Garnett, opposing teams' primary power forwards have averaged 20.8 ppg. That includes 37 points from Dirk Nowitzki, and two games in which Chris Bosh put up 25 points and 31 points, respectively.
Allegedly we're playing some team tonight called "the Blazers", but who really cares? We could be playing the 90's All-Decade team on Superstar mode and I'd still like our odds. Kevin Garnett is coming back to play in the Garden for the first time in over a month. The place will be so pumped up you could make intensity snowballs and throw them at the Blazers.
Probable Starting Lineups
Injuries and Stuff: Kevin Garnett (PROBABLE), Marquis Daniels (OUT), JR Giddens (ASSIGNED TO D-LEAGUE)
Injuries and Stuff: Brandon Roy (OUT), Travis Outlaw (OUT), Greg Oden (OUT), Joel Pryzbilla (OUT), Nicholas Batum (OUT)
Match-up of the Night: Kevin Garnett V LaMarcus Aldridge
Kevin is going to have some obvious rust, but he'll most likely be so amped up we shouldn't notice. I'm sure also that Doc will try to limit his minutes. That said, KG should really work on Aldridge while he's out there, and with Brandon Roy out Aldridge will be the focus of the Blazer's offense.
Keys to the Game for the Good Guys
1: Use the Emotion, Don't Let It Use You- KG is going to be hot. Lord knows nobody is happy about the way the Celtics have been playing recently, but Garnett being the stand-up guy that he is, he's probably taking a lot of the responsibility right on his own two shoulders. He'll be very ancy to try to make something happen, but the other guys on the team, especially Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce need to help control the pace so KG doesn't wear himself out in the first half, and so that KG doesn't force shots if they're not coming.
2: Play in the Second Half- This one is pretty self-explanatory. A big reason why the Celtics have lost 5 of their last 7 games is because they've just opted to not play in the second half. It is a bold strategy, and far be it from me to tell Doc how to do his job, but I think in this particular game, and all games going forward, it would be nice if the Celtics actually played in the second half, as opposed to completely not showing up, which has been the gameplan in the past.
3: Make a Statement, Starting Today..- Nobody is scared of the Garden anymore! The Pistons, without Ben Gordon, managed to best the team formerly known as the Celtics! That needs to end. God willing, we'll be in a place when the playoffs start to have a home game here or there. It would be nice if maybe teams were petrified again of coming to play the Celtics. Tonight, it's gotta start. 25+ points win is just what the Doctor ordered.
Bill Walker Watch: 5 games, 6 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 Life Shattering Earth changing dunks
Probability of significant playing time: 25%
-Doc has been
showcasing playing him earlier and earlier latey, and despite us facing a decent, resourceful team, I don't think anything they can possibly do will keep the Blazers less than 15 points behind us by halftime. This is a getup and go game.