News 4/3 Apr 3, 2009 7:56:34 GMT -5
Post by FLCeltsFan on Apr 3, 2009 7:56:34 GMT -5
Without Kevin Garnett, Celtics still confident
By Steve Bulpett | Friday, April 3, 2009 | www.bostonherald.com | Boston Celtics
Photo by Stuart Cahill
The Herald interrupts your breakfast to bring you this breaking news:
After much discussion and consternation, it has been learned that if Kevin Garnett cannot play or is limited at the start of the playoffs, the Celtics [team stats] still plan to show up.
And do well.
“People think it’s over for us if we don’t have Kevin or if Kevin isn’t a hundred percent,” said Paul Pierce [stats], “but we don’t look at it that way. No question we want him and we need him but, hey, we’ve got guys who are capable. They probably can’t give what Kevin gives, but that means it’ll just have to come from a combination of guys.
“But we’re confident we can win regardless of who we put on the court.”
Win a championship?
“Yeah,” said Pierce.
If a Garnett-less Green were to win the 2009 title, they ought to hang an extra large banner from the Garden rafters - one that drapes to the parquet floor. The magnitude of such an accomplishment would be hard to comprehend.
Kendrick Perkins [stats], in fact, has trouble getting the notion to stick.
“Oh, we’re still going to play no matter who we have or don’t have,” Perkins said. “I know we’re going to come out and compete.
“But winning it all without KG? It’s hard to say. I don’t really want to think about that. I’ve got confidence in us, but at the same time that’s the big fella we’re talking about.”
With Garnett missing all but four games since hobbling off the floor in Utah on Feb. 19, some other fellas have come up big.
“We haven’t really played with Kevin in a while, so we’re getting used to not having him around,” said Pierce. “Guys that haven’t been able to play but are playing now have stepped up. I think that’s going to help our team in the long run. It’s making us a better team.
“These guys are improving. I mean, if you look at the young guys, they’re vastly improved. (Rajon) Rondo, Perkins, Baby (Glen Davis) - these guys are getting better because of the experience they’re getting. And being that they’ve won a championship, it gives them a lot of confidence also.”
The most likely scenario will find Garnett being somewhat less than his best in the postseason. Perkins is preparing for that possibility and believing the Celts can maximize his limited playing time.
“Yeah, I feel that way,” Perkins said. “I think we can still win. I mean, obviously there’s no doubt in my mind that we need him. Like I said before, I’ll take a 75 percent or 85 percent KG over no KG, but we’re pretty confident that when he’s not in the game we can still win.
“We’ve just got to do a better job of building leads,” Perkins added. “We can’t keep letting teams come back on us when we get ahead. We’ve got to take what we’ve got and build a higher lead. When the game starts, we’ve got to jump on teams. Then when the second quarter comes, we’ve got to jump on them again. That’s how we’ve got to do it all through the game.
The Celts got their mentality in order just in time Wednesday against Charlotte. After playing some suicidal basketball (no ball movement, etc.), they came back for a win that could reverberate a while.
The C’s are a game up on Orlando for the second seed (even in the loss column). The one-game lead is even bigger when you consider the teams split the season series and that the next tiebreaker is conference record - where the C’s hold a two-game lead.
“I didn’t know that,” said Doc Rivers. “I have no idea about that stuff. But I guess that’s why it was a good win for us. They all are, but this would have been (a difficult loss). Against a team that’s playing as well as Charlotte is, you have to be able to accept a loss.
“But the way we played a lot of the night would have made it a little hard to take. And we do want that second seed. I’ve said that.”
They want Kevin Garnett, too. But the Celtics are willing to make do with what they have.