Remain calm, all is well
|04.16.09 at 3:20 pm ET|
But let’s take a deep breath and try to figure out what not having Kevin Garnett means for the Celtics. With him (as ESPN’s John Hollinger points out), the Celtics were 44-11 and a +9.5 in scoring differential, making them one of the best teams in the league. Without him, they are 21-9 and +4.0, making them one of the better teams in the league, but not one of the elite.
Without Garnett, the Celtics have been getting by with a combination of Big Baby Davis and Mikki Moore. While Baby and Moore are decent jump-shooting big men, what was missing was a low-post presence on offense.
Enter Leon Powe, whose per-minute averages in scoring and rebounding are about equal to Garnett’s contributions. Powe’s concern, like that of Moore and Kendrick Perkins, is staying out of foul trouble and on the floor to make those numbers translate into per game averages.
What’s really missing, though, is the captain of the defense and there’s simply no way for the current Celtics to make up for Garnett on that end of the floor.
Before Doc Rivers declared KG essentially out for the playoffs, conventional wisdom had the Celtics reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. Without KG, but with homecourt in the first two rounds, the Celtics are still in decent position to reach that plateau, and a whole lot of things can happen between now and then.
There’s no question the Celtics chances of repeating took a significant hit, but over? Nothing is over until… well, you know.