Looking back: KG injury derails Celtics’ season
|12.28.09 at 2:04 pm ET|
(WEEI.com is counting down the “Top 10 Things We Couldn’t Shut Up About In 2009,” and No. 9 is the Celtics’ 2008-09 season getting derailed by Kevin Garnett’s knee injury.. Here is a written, visual and audio look at the saga that was the loss of KG.)
No. 9: Garnett’s knee injury alters Celtics’ fate
Coming off a championship 2007-08 season, Kevin Garnett and the Celtics’ spirits were high coming out of the All-Star break in 2009. Garnett had celebrated a 12th consecutive All Star bid and the Celtics trailed only the Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference lead. All of this, of course, until February 19.
To Celtics fans, February 19 could almost live in infamy. Just four days following the All Star game, the Celtics began the second half of their season with a road trip out West. The four-game trip began in Utah, where the Celtics had jumped out to a 22-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. It was in thesecond quarter, however, that things in the game, road trip, and season went south.
A second-quarter injury to Garnett’s right knee seemed less scary than initially thought. After all, Garnett warmed up as though he would play in the second half, but in the end was kept out in what became a 90-85 loss. Following the game, Garnett said that his knee would require a re-examination.
“I would much rather be playing instead of giving this statement,” Garnett said.
As Garnett went on to miss 13 games due to his sprained knee, the Celtics treaded water without the Big Ticket. The team went just 7-6 in the span, including losses to eventual playoff nemeses Chicago and Orlando. Garnett returned to action March 20 in San Antonio, playing just under 15 minutes and contributing 10 points with four boards.
The Green went 3-1 in four games with Garnett back, with the one loss coming against the Magic. The 84-82 defeat would prove to be the final game of Garnett’s season, as he went on to miss the final nine game of the Celtics’ season. The team looked strong without him, however, as they posted an 8-1 record to finish out the regular season and secured the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.
As rumors began to swirl regarding whether Garnett could potentially contribute in the playoffs, Doc Rivers made it clear that he didn’t expect No. 5 to grace the parquet in April and beyond.
“It’s not official that he’s out for the entire playoffs, but it’s official as far as I’m concerned,” the coach said prior to the first round against the Bulls. “I just don’t see how. I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t see it.”
The opening round made no liar out of Rivers, as Garnett donned his finest suits throughout the seven-game series that culminated with a 109-99 Celtics victory at the TD Banknorth Garden. If the surprising Bulls had appeared to be all the KG-less Celtics could handle, the Dwight Howard-led Magic could have been Boston’s worst nightmare.
Garnett would miss the second round as well, and despite splitting the first two games with the Magic at home, the Celtics took two of three in Orlando behind strong performances by Paul Pierce and Glen Davis. Heading home with a 3-2 series lead, the Green needed just one home victory to send them to Cleveland to face LeBron James and the top-seeded Cavaliers. Davis scored just 19 total points in Games 6 and 7 combined, however, and Hedo Turkoglu buried the Celtics with 25 points in the series-clinching game, a 101-82 Magic victory.
Kevin Garnett, Celtics Forward: Kevin talked about if he had any fears about his injury last year, how the injury was actually a blessing in disguise, if he can tell a difference in his game this year after sitting out a lot of last year, that he is close to where he wants to be but not all the way back, what Rasheed Wallace brings to the Celtics, and that his bowling game is “straight trash”:http://audio.weei.com/m/27476875/kevin-garnett-celtics-forward.htm
Wyc Grousbeck, Celtics Managing Partner: After Doc Rivers broke the news about KG’s playoff status on WEEI, Wyc joined the guys to say how the Celts are a totally different team if KG doesn’t play at all but still believes they can make a run like the 2004 Pistons: http://audio.weei.com/m/22107525/wyc-grousbeck-celtics-managing-partner-governor.htm
Doc Rivers, Celtics Head Coach: Doc breaks the news to D&C that KG is not going to be ready for the 1st round and maybe the whole postseason: http://audio.weei.com/m/22107174/doc-rivers-celtics-head-coach.htm
Donny Marshall, Comcast SportsNet: Donny talked about how the Garnett injury will impact the Celtics as they enter the playoffs this weekend: http://audio.weei.com/m/22099127/donny-marshall-comcast-sportsnet.htm