|Kobe Bryant, the Celtics and the fountain of youth||02.08.13 at 1:54 am ET|
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the Garden parquet, laughing side-by-side as Gino danced his ridiculous dance on the Jumbotron. The former had submitted his finest performance against the Lakers since walking off the same floor with an NBA Finals MVP trophy. The latter had scored his 25,000th point in owning the league’s most dominant big. Together, they delivered a sixth straight Celtics win sans Rajon Rondo.
They are 35 and 36 years old, respectively. Combined, they’ve played nearly 90,000 minutes, which translates into more than a year of playing time on NBA basketball courts across the country. And they’re not done yet.
“It’s a generational thing,” said 34-year-old Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant after an embarrassing 106-95 loss to the Celtics. “In that generation, we all seem to hold on or have found the same fountain of youth somewhere.”
And not the kind of fountain of youth Alex Rodriquez reportedly found in Miami. “Not that one,” laughed Bryant. “Not that one.” More like a pacemaker that keeps a championship heart beating year after year. Like a 32-year-old Muhammad Ali biding his time against a 25-year-old George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle.
“It’s typical Celtics basketball,” said Bryant. “They all just put their hard hats on, and they go out, play hard and figure things out. Whenever their backs against the wall, that’s when you really see the best from them. … It’s just like last year, when they made their playoff run. That’s just what this team does. They kind of rope-a-dope you.”
|Kevin Garnett: ‘If it’s up to me, I’m going to retire a Celtic’||02.07.13 at 11:51 pm ET|
Following Thursday’s blowout win over the Lakers, Kevin Garnett left no doubt where he wants to end this season and his career.
There has been plenty of speculation in the last week, linking Garnett’s name to trade rumors involving the Clippers and, most recently, the Nuggets.
Garnett, one of the most sensitive and informed superstars in the league, took the opportunity – unsolicited – to remind everyone of his intentions.
“On a last note, I just want to say I love my situation here,” said Garnett, who has a full no-trade clause and can veto any deal the Celtics may encounter heading toward the Feb. 21 trade deadline. “I don’t know what y’all’s sources are or whoever is making up these bulls**t articles about me getting traded to Denver and all these other places. I bleed green and I continue to do that. If it’s up to me, I’m going to retire a Celtic. I just want y’all to know that. Keep it real.”
Minutes earlier, when asked what kind of message a six-game winning streak sends Celtics GM Danny Ainge about keeping the team together, Garnett offered this:
‘I don’t know what Danny and upper management has up their sleeves as far as making this team better,” Garnett said. “But we, as players, can only control us. Right now, we are in a rhythm; we are moving the ball. I know I kind of sound like a broken record but we are continuing to consolidate the ball and everybody’s touching the ball and playing with a lot of confidence. We are playing together on both ends and that’s important right now.’
The Celtics are 6-0 since Rajon Rondo went down with season-ending ACL tear in his right knee. Garnett explained that the Celtics lost their best chef but they’re still cooking up a winning recipe.
“Well, the only way I can really explain it is that when you sit back, Rondo does so many great things for this team, you kind of get lackadaisical if you will,” Garnett began. “It’s very similar to if you had someone cooking for you and you’re expecting that every day. All of sudden, someone isn’t there for you in your house to do that. And it’s up to you to feed yourself. All of sudden, you start making all of these gourmet dishes and then it’s more people over to the house. You never knew you possess that unless you lost that person who was cooking. It’s kind of like that.”
Garnett then went into the above soliloquy on bleeding green for life.
All of this on a night when he became the first player in NBA history with 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists and 1,500 blocks.
‘I’m sure someday I’ll fall back and rock in my rocking chair having a cigar, thinking about what I’ve done, I’m sure it will make some sense to me,” Garnett said. “But you know, I told Doc when I came here to all the coaches and ex-players and current players and systems and organizations, this great organization that I play for, I’m more than honored, because without the systems and the coaches, and obviously players that put you in a position to score the basketball none of this would be possible. You know, I try to keep my body young and keep together. But there’s so many different components going into some of the individual awards, and I’d just like to obviously say I’m more than honored. But thank you, to all the ones that you guys don’t see. So, I guess all that said and done I’m more than flattered and honored.’
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Fast Break: Paul Pierce, Celtics slay Kobe Bryant, Lakers to win 6th straight sans Rajon Rondo||at 10:29 pm ET|
Kevin Garnett scored his 25,000th career point, Paul Pierce outshined Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard showed up (but not really), Fab Melo scored his first NBA points and the Celtics won their sixth straight game without Rajon Rondo, 116-95 against the Lakers. All in all, not a bad night for the C’s.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Exclusive membership: With a fadeaway jumper 3:52 into the second quarter, Kevin Garnett became the 16th player in NBA history to score 25,000 points. He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon, Oscar Robertson, Dominique Wilkins, John Havlicek, Alex English, Reggie Miller and Jerry West. Garnett became the first player to amass 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 1,500 blocks and 1,500 steals in his career. During the following timeout, after Doc Rivers drew up a play, the crowd saluted Garnett, who returned the favor.
Winter Green: For the sixth time in seven games, Jeff Green scored double-digit points. He entered the game averaging 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 26.3 minutes a night this month. That’s 17.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.3 blocks per 36 minutes. That’s good. He’s also played better defensively, assuming some of the load on Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant over the past eight games.
The sequence: The Celtics closed the third quarter on a 12-3 run that seemed more like an 83-1 run. The remarkable stretch featured the best of what these C’s have to offer: the Brandon Bass mid-range game (18-footer), Avery Bradley‘s defense (picked Bryant’s pocket), Jason Terry on the runway (a transition triple), Jeff Green‘s athleticism (a fast-break dunk followed by a block of Antawn Jamison) and both Paul Pierce‘s step-back jumper (from 19 feet) and his sense for the moment (a dagger of a 3). All that gave the Celtics a 95-69 lead after three, sent the Garden crowd into a frenzy and reminded just about everyone of Game 6 of the 2008 NBA finals.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Foul mood: In a span of 39 seconds — just two minutes into the game — the Celtics committed five fouls, including two by Kevin Garnett. Enter Jason Collins, who didn’t fare much better despite his reputation as the so-called Dwight stopper. Collins quickly racked up three personal fouls, giving way to Chris Wilcox. On the bright side, the Lakers missed 10-of-18 first-half free throws (Howard: 1-6 FT) and Garnett survived the first half with the two fouls.
Kobe being Kobe: It’s probably hard for Celtics fans to stop and appreciate Bryant’s offensive bag of tricks, but there’s something special about the fact that two natural born scorers like he and Pierce have played in L.A. and Boston for the entirety of their careers. Bryant’s best shot of the night — a ridiculous up-and-under — got waved off by a foul, but his jump shot along the baseline to close out the first half was classic Kobe. Keeping the Lakers within striking distance for most of the night, Bryant finished with 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting.
No Leandro: The Celtics scored 100 points, and somehow Leandro Barbosa wasn’t involved. He finished 0-for-4 from the floor in 16 minutes, but still managed to contribute four rebounds and three assists. This is nitpicking, for sure, but the Celtics ran the Lakers out of the Garden and won their sixth straight game without Rondo. There wasn’t much that went wrong.
|Paul Pierce, Celtics embarrass Kobe Bryant, Lakers||at 10:28 pm ET|
Paul Pierce 12 of his 24 points in the third quarter while Kevin Garnett scored 15 points and made NBA history as the Celtics embarrassed the Lakers on national TV, 116-95, Thursday night at TD Garden. Jeff Green added 19 points off the bench for the Celtics, who matched their season-best six-game winning streak while improving to 26-23 on the season.
Kobe Bryant scored 27 in the loss and Dwight Howard had little impact on the game, scoring nine points and grabbing nine rebounds in 28 minutes in his return from three-game absence due to a right shoulder injury. He fouled out with 5:07 left in the game. It was his first game since being called out by Bryant on Wednesday. The Lakers lost for just the second time in eight games and fell to 23-27 on the season.
The Celtics overcame early foul trouble as Garnett picked up two fouls in the first two minutes and found an early spot on the bench. Jason Collins picked up three fouls in five minutes and the Lakers were in the bonus before the first three minutes were in the books as Boston was called for five fouls in the first 2:22 of the game.
The Celtics finished the first quarter with 10 personal fouls while the Lakers had only three.
But the Lakers could not take advantage, missing 7-of-12 free throws and shooting just 8-for-21 from the field. The Celtics took the lead for good on a Jeff Green three-foot hook shot with 4:03 left in the first quarter. Bryant had eight points in the opening 12 minutes but Pierce went even further, scoring 10, as the Celtics grabbed a 27-23 lead after one quarter.
With 8:08 left in the second quarter, Garnett hit an 11-foot turnaround over Earl Clark to reach the 25,000-point plateau. He made history as the only player in NBA history with 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists and 1,500 blocks. Garnett had nine points in the second quarter as the Celtics began to pull away, outscoring Los Angeles, 31-21, to take a 58-44 halftime lead. The Celtics committed just two turnovers in the first half as they began to pull away.
In a throwback to Game 6 of the 2008 NBA finals, when the Celtics clinched their 17th title on the parquet, the Celtics blew out the listless and defenseless Lakers in the third quarter. Following a Steve Blake three that closed the gap to 81-66, the Celtics closed the quarter 14-3 spurt that featured a one-handed slam by Green and a 3-pointer from Pierce that sent the Garden into a frenzy. The Celtics led 95-69 heading into the fourth.
With chants of “Beat LA” ringing throughout the sellout crowd, the Celtics kept pouring it on, building their lead up to 32, 103-71, midway through the fourth.
Fab Melo checked into the game with just under five minutes left for Chris Wilcox and the Celtics up by 27. He scored his first NBA points on a layup with 1:22 remaining in the game.
The Celtics are off Friday and likely will not practice on Saturday either due to the blizzard forecast for Boston. The Celtics are next scheduled to play Sunday at 6 p.m. against the Nuggets at TD Garden. For more from the team of Mike Petraglia and Ben Rohrbach at the Garden, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Kevin Garnett reaches 25,000 points in the NBA||at 8:59 pm ET|
With a patented turnaround jumper over Earl Clark with 8:08 left in the second quarter of the Celtics‘ game against the Lakers, Kevin Garnett became the 16th player in NBA history to reach 25,000 points. Garnett becomes the only player in NBA history with 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 1,500 blocks, and 1,500 steals.
During a timeout several minutes later, the Celtics honored him with a tribute on the TD Garden video board. The crowd gave him a standing ovation and Paul Pierce led the cheers in the Celtics huddle. As the Celtics came out of the timeout, Garnett tipped his hand to the crowd in appreciation.
Garnett scored a season-high 27 on Wednesday night in Toronto, making it a near-certainty KG would reach the mark on national TV against the Lakers, needing just six points to reach the 25,000-point plateau.
It’s the second time in three seasons a Celtics player has achieved an NBA milestone against the Lakers. In Feb. 2011, Ray Allen became the NBA’s all-time leading 3-point shooter, passing Reggie Miller in a Thursday game against the Lakers.
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Doc Rivers: Lakers ‘have more firestorms going on’||at 8:04 pm ET|
“We don’t have time for it to heal,” Bryant told ESPN on Wednesday, a day before the Lakers’ showdown with the Celtics in Boston. “We need some urgency.”
Howard responded Thursday.
“That’s his opinion; that’s it,” Howard told ESPN. “He’s not a doctor. I’m not a doctor. That’s his opinion.”
Doc Rivers, obviously aware of this dynamic, figured Bryant’s words would be enough to get Howard back in the lineup Thursday.
“He’s playing,” he said without hesitation. “We’ve only prepared for one way.”
Rivers was right as Howard returned from a three-game absence as he deals with a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Just another turn in the NBA’s longest and most prestigious rivalry.
“They still wear that same color. And we wear the same color,” Rivers replied when asked about the current state of the rivalry before Thursday’s game. “Through all of it, it’s still the same thing, you enjoy the game because they are fun. Kobe [Bryant is] there; Kevin [Garnett] and Paul [Pierce] are there. It always will be fun.”
Then he threw a good-natured jab at the Lakers.
“It’s more, we’re just playing right now; we’re not dealing with anything,” Rivers said a week after losing Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger. “They have more firestorms going on. Give them credit, they’ve won six out of seven through it. In some ways, it may be helping them.”
Speaking of big men, Rivers said he’s not worried about Kevin Garnett‘s minutes after scoring 27 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in 32 minutes Wednesday in Toronto.
“It’s not a game-to-game thing with Kevin’s minutes, it’s more the accumulative of the year,” Rivers said. “We’ve had eight overtimes, I think, that hasn’t helped at all with him. So it’s just, we get through the year and try to keep him as fresh as possible.”
Meanwhile… Celtics players presented Rivers with the game ball from his 400th regular-season win as Celtics coach on their flight home from Toronto on Wednesday night. Garnett and Pierce were among those to honor Rivers on the flight, something Rivers acknowledged Thursday.
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|Kevin Garnett to 4-year-old daughter: ‘Better have your ass in bed’||02.06.13 at 10:08 pm ET|
In the span of about 30 seconds after Wednesday”s 99-95 win over the Raptors, Kevin Garnett managed to say “consolidate” for the 10,000th time since Rajon Rondo‘s injury, call Leandro Barbosa “mi amigo,” proclaim the C’s “play hard as crap” (which is actually toned down from his similar, more expletive-laden comments last season) and tell his 4-year-old daughter, who he warmly refers to as Boo Boo, she “better have your ass in bed.” Good times. Garnett finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and this wild shot over Andrea Bargnani:
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