|Walker happy to take a seat||03.23.09 at 11:23 pm ET|
‘I’m actually happy Ticket’s back,” he said before Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers (RECAP HERE). “He gives our team that swagger again. We’re more aggressive on defense. You can just tell it’s a different team when he’s on the court.’
After bouncing between the bench and the NBA Development League, Walker received a rare window of opportunity for meaningful minutes on the Celtics. He had played a total of just 54 minutes all season before Garnett strained his knee on February 19. With the Celtics bench already hampered by injuries, Walker averaged 8.5 minutes per game in Garnett’s absence.
‘I learned that it’s more physical than it looks on TV out there,’ he said. ‘You’ve got to learn to rest your body and take care of your little aches because those games come back so quick. You’ve got to take care of the little things.’
While Walker’s numbers did not skyrocket ‘ his game-high was only eight points ‘ his perspective on the game did.
‘You can always get better, especially on defense,’ he said. ‘There are so many things that go with our defense that I don’t know everything. So watching tape and watching myself like, ‘Oh I’m a second late’ or, ‘I’m a step late.”
Walker is constantly learning, whether it is on the court or on the bench, so he does not mind taking it all in from the sidelines. He pay close attention to the players around him — ‘What do they do that’s effective?’ he asks himself ‘ and tries to incorporate their strengths into his own game. He doesn’t have to look much further than his own team to pick up some pointers.
‘Offensively you can take from just about anybody out there. (Rajon) Rondo, how he gets to the basket. Paul (Pierce), his footwork. Ray (Allen’s) shooting. Ticket’s post work. There’s a lot of stuff to watch out there,’ Walker said. ‘I watch Ray on defense. Ray’s got some great defense. People don’t really realize it but Ray’s always in the right position. Hands are where they’re supposed to be. He’s just a smart player.’
The Celtics basketball IQ has already rubbed off on Walker. He’ll take the opportunity to watch the Big Three play any day.
‘I think it’s very, very valuable because everybody is not playing on a team with three sure-fire Hall of Famers,’ he said. ‘It’s not like these guys are stuck up. They teach me things every day.’
|Notes and numbers: Third quarter||at 9:30 pm ET|
– KG watch: 9 minutes, 4 points, 1 rebound
– Leading scorer: Baron Davis (10 points)
– Leading rebounder: Kendrick Perkins (8 rebounds)
– Leading ball handler: Rajon Rondo and Baron Davis (3 assists)
– Points in the paint: Celtics 16 ‘ Clippers 10
– Fast break points: Celtics 6 ‘ Clippers 0
|Notes and numbers: First quarter||at 8:11 pm ET|
At the end of the first quarter … Celtics 31, Clippers 18
– KG watch: 9 minutes, 8 points, 1 rebound, 1 foul
– Leading scorer: Rajon Rondo (10 points)
– Leading rebounder: Zach Randolph (5 boards)
– Leading ball handler: Rondo and Baron Davis (3 assists)
– Hot shot: Celtics 68.4% FG, Clippers 45.0% FG
|The boys are back in town||at 7:46 pm ET|
It’s been 30 days … But tonight the Big Ticket returns to the Garden … Are you ready?
For the first time in over a month the true Boston Celtics starting five is taking the court. After a dramatic introduction on the Jumbotron, Kevin Garnett looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. After the lineups were announced he got in Kendrick Perkins face and shouted who-knows-what. He acknowledged each of the Clippers and then ran to the corner of the court to address the crowd, lifting fans to their feet with every point of his finger. There is something different tonight — maybe the Garden is trying new lighting — but the energy in the air is undeniable.
|NBA already thinking playoffs||03.22.09 at 7:02 pm ET|
|Garnett makes most of minutes||03.20.09 at 11:43 pm ET|
Perhaps more frustrating than an injured Kevin Garnett in street clothes is a restricted Garnett in uniform.
After missing the last 13 games with a strained knee, Garnett returned to the Boston Celtics starting lineup in Friday night’s win against the San Antonio Spurs. (RECAP HERE) As a precautionary measure, head coach Doc Rivers capped his minutes at just 15, leaving the Celtics without their big man down the stretch.
However this game had a different result than the last time Garnett returned from a lengthy absence:
February 19, 2008 vs. Denver Nuggets
Last season Garnett was sidelined for nine games in January/February with an abdominal strain . After going 7-2 without Garnett, the Celtics dropped the first three games with KG back in the lineup. His return was spoiled by a 124-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets following the All-Star break. Garnett scored just 4 points (2-7 FG) in 27 minutes and committed four turnovers. After the game Rivers deemed Garnett’s performance ‘not very good’ and thought he looked ‘rusty.’ Garnett bounced back the following night, posting 17 points and 15 rebounds in the Celtics two-point loss to the Golden State Warriors.
March 20, 2009 vs. San Antonio Spurs
Garnett had been averaging more than 32 minutes per game before suffering his knee injury in February. Knowing his playing time would be limited, Garnett came out aggressive in his return. He attempted his first shot 15 seconds into the game and finished the night with 10 points (5-9 FG) in just 15 minutes. He also grabbed four rebounds. Unlike his return last season, Rivers was full of compliments for Garnett this time around. ‘He was playing terrific right before we took him out,’ he said after the game.
The Celtics intend to limit Garnett’s minutes on Saturday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.
|KG and Allen off to San Antonio||03.19.09 at 11:44 am ET|
Ray Allen (elbow) and Kevin Garnett (knee) are traveling to San Antonio with the Boston Celtics on their team charter, according to multiple reports. Garnett has not played since February 19 against the Utah Jazz. Allen sat out of Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat. The Celtics will play the Spurs on Friday night.