Entering the 2nd half of the NBA season, the Boston Celtics were clearly the team to beat and that’s exactly what happened in the first game back after the All-Star break weekend. The Denver Nuggets shot .513 percent from the floor en route to a high scoring, 124-118 victory over the team with the NBA’s best record. This was the Celtics first lost to a team from the Western Conference and their 4th straight loss to the Nuggets in Denver.
Unfortunately for the C’s, there is no time to regroup, the team is in the midst of a week long West Coast road trip in which they will play five games in the seven nights. They will now go onto face Golden State, Phoenix, Portland, and L.A (Clippers) before they return to Beantown for an Eastern Conference showdown with Lebron James and the Cavaliers on Feb. 27th.
One bright note in last nights’ loss was the return of Kevin Garnett who had been sidelined for two weeks with an abdominal muscle strain. The injury forced him to also miss out on the All-Star game which no one was happy. Garnett had received the most votes out of any player in the league for the game but due to his injury missed out on the action. He was still in attendance for the weekend’s festivities, cheering on the East and supporting teammates Paul Pierce and Ray Allen who were also elected as team members.
Hope you had a fun weekend guys because you all looked jet lagged and fatigued late in last nights’ game and it may have cost you the win.
Garnett looked especially rusty and his statistics for the evening were sub-par at best. He netted a season low of 4 points, grabbed only 8 rebounds and turned the ball over 4 times in a mere 20+ minutes of action. Celtics coach Doc Rivers was not very shy with reporters after the game about how he felt of the superstar’s performance.
“Not very good,” said Rivers, “But you have to expect that when he sits out that long. He was rusty.”
By the end of the road trip, expect to see Garnett back in his normal routine of double-doubles every night. As uninspiring as last nights performance was, there is no reason to get down on the Big Ticket because he’s good… he’s really good. KG is allowed to have an off night on the day when he returns from a two week absence due to an injury. All we saw last night was that Garnett is simply human. I know, I was shocked too.
With four remaining games on their West Coast swing, Garnett and the Celtics need to pick up the intensity level and find a way to win like they had been doing the whole first half of the season.
As long as the team is in first place, they will have a target on their back wherever they go. Teams all over the league are gunning for them, now its gut check time to see how well the men in green can dodge those bullets in order to stay hot and on top.