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T-Mobile Player Of The Week - Kevin Garnett

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This post is sponsored by T-Mobile.

Let's get one thing out of the way immediately.  Paul Pierce has been our most consistent player.  I could give this award to him just about every week and feel completely justified in doing so.  In fact, he's put up 5 straight games of 20 or more points.  The man is a machine.

With that said, nobody made a bigger impact on the team than Kevin Garnett this week (and he only played one game!).  Simply by showing up, he shifted the mood of the team.  He represents a momentum change for the team.  It was like an ace pitcher putting an end to a losing streak.

His intensity was once again infectious on defense and the team just looked better with him out there.  This isn't to take anything away from Pierce, without him in the lineup KG's impact probably wouldn't have mattered much in the win column.  Still, we have both of them back again and I think that means good things for us going forward.

With that out of the way, allow me to digress...

You know how some MVP debates devolve into an arguement over "best stats" vs. "where would that team be without this player?"  Well, that got me to thinking.  We got a painful reminder this week (as if we needed it after last year) of how important Garnett is to this team's title chances.  But looking back from Christmas to now, I think we get a picture of how important it is to have both Pierce and Garnett in the lineup.

Take Kobe or LeBron away from their respective teams and everything crumbles.  The Celtics are a little more insulated from that crumbling because Pierce and KG are 1a and 1b regardless of what order you put them in.  If one goes down, you've still got an alpha-male to lead them.  (Can't go much further into this without a respectful nod to the future staff ace Rondo).  But the team still suffers greatly with either one (or both!) out of the lineup.

From Christmas on, with just Paul Pierce out of the lineup, the Celtics were 1-2 with the sole win against the Magic.  The next two games were without Pierce AND Garnett and the team won one (Toronto) and lost the other.  Can't take too much from that because of the small sample size, but in general we obviously aren't a very good team with both guys out.  With just KG out of the lineup, the team went 4-5. Before Christmas, (with both in the lineup just about every night) the team was 22-5.

So what does all of this prove?  Simply the obvious:  If you are looking for a reason why this team lost 8 games in the last month, look no further than the games our stars missed.  They won't win any league MVP awards and there won't be any commercials of them played by puppets, but Pierce and Garnett are quite clearly very, very valuable to this team.