Kevin Garnett snatched Rodney Stuckey's miss out of TD Garden atmosphere, drew a foul, and slammed the ball repeatedly off his forehead. Nobody ever said Garnett was sane, at least not while he plays basketball.
But Garnett is healthy, and for a Celtics fan base that wondered how he would return from a recent calf injury, harmonicas exude sweet sounds of joy.
"I'm good," Garnett said after a mostly lackluster performance. "I was a little anxious tonight. I really, really knew the ball was going to come to me a lot. Just need to take my time."
On the surface, Garnett's 5-14 shooting exhibition was nothing to smile about. His matchup with Charlie Villanueva resulted in a stalemate, and I'm sure that wasn't KG's intention. KG missed shots, many of them, and easy ones at that. There was one post-up, turnaround jumper over Villanueva's head -- it rolled off the rim. There was another wide open jumper -- it fell short. Garnett's timing was off, and he missed a lot of shots he normally makes. On most nights, Garnett would feast on a steady diet of Greg Monroe, Chris Wilcox and Villanueva. Last night, not so much.
But the important part, for Celtics fans who worried Garnett's injury would nag him for a long time, was this: He's still moving just like he did before the injury. In other words, we can all exhale deeply.
The missing ingredient last night was only Garnett's groove.
"One thing about rhythm is, it's almost like, for y'all that can dance -- and for y'all that cannot, don't worry about this -- but it’s like being at the party and the record skips, and you've got to get back on beat," said Garnett. "So, you know, the record skipped a bit, but I’m still at the party. I just have to find that groove again. For all of y'all who can’t dance, don’t take it personal."
I'm the type of person who's off beat before the record skips. The term "rhythm," to me, is very similar to the word "dunk." No matter how many times I hear about it, or see it with my own two eyes, I'll never experience the feeling of rhythm -- or, for that matter, the feeling of a dunk. (Picture me as Greg Ostertag, except a foot shorter and slightly better looking.)
But Garnett knows what it's like to dance, and he's just searching to find the beat. It will come soon, he figures, and thus he remains optimistic. Garnett has experienced a debilitating injury, and this recent calf injury, he now knows, was not that.
As Garnett left his press conference, he imparted one last bit of advice for the media:
"Learn to dance," he said.
But as long as Garnett knows how, that's good enough for me.