1) No Garnett?
Four days ago in Utah Kevin Garnett limped off the court with what appeared to be a serious knee injury. That was a very unpleasant moment. Forty eight hours later we heard the injury was not critical. What a relief to finally take in some air after two straight days of breath holding. I never realized how important oxygen was!
So what have the Celtics done without their best player? Win. Boston is 5-0 this season without Mr. Garnett and 14-2 without him since he moved over from the land o' lakes. That's incredible!
They can't win a title without Garnett but they can win some games for a while.
This nonKevin winning percentage alone is adequate proof of just how great a coach Doc Rivers is. This is not like filling Robert Parish's spot with Bill Walton for a short time. Doc subs Brian Scalabrine for Garnett and wins. Then Scalabrine goes down and he plugs in Big Baby and still wins... against good teams on the road. The team never loses faith in one another. The team just keeps going forward. Great great job Doc.
Speaking of Brian Scalabrine-- No one has risen in the eyes of Celtic observers more. In just a few months he's gone from a novelty equivalent of the departed mascot Lucky to indispensible understudy and calming veteran presence. Admit it: When Scal went out you said to yourself, "Oh no! We NEED him!"
4) Scalabrine and Rondo
And speaking more of Scalabrine-- Rajon Rondo made a fascinating statement that he loves playing with Scal on the floor because the big redhead regularly moves to the corner on offense taking a tall defender with him. This opens up the middle for Rondo's drives. With Jersey Red on the floor opportunities are created for Rondo that are not available when Garnett, Perkins, Baby, and Powe play in some tandem combination.
Last night is a perfect example. Scal plays most of the first quarter and Rondo scores 11. Scal goes out and Rondo only scores 3 the rest of the way.
The incredible Rondo has run another point guard gauntlet on this extended road trip: So far he's faced Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Deron Williams, and Chauncey Billups. That's five straight guys who will some day get hall of fame consideration.
Question: How did he do? Answer: On average a lot better than they did.
Here's Rondo vs. 5 all stars over that period:
Points: Rondo 86, All Stars 66.
Assists: Rondo 50, All Stars 41.
Rebs: Rondo 38, All Stars 11.
If it wasn't for early foul trouble in Utah it would have been even more lopsided.
Phew, compiling data is hard! I'm never doing that again.
Hey while I was laboring I noticed an oddity in the box score from the Phoenix game: 6 guys were tied for the game high in rebounds at 6 each: Rondo, Perkins, Pierce, House, Powe, and Shaq. Is that an all time record of lowest top rebounder in a game? Anybody know?
7) Mikki Moore to the Rescue
The Moore I think about it, the Moore I believe this will work. Yes he's not strong, doesn't rebound much, or block shots, but what he does well will be magnified and multiplied on this wonderful Celtic team. He brings energy, plays good team defense (as opposed to bodying down low), can shoot the midranger, can run, and is tall. In Boston he'll inject that energy into the team. He'll be faster, taller, and will shoot better...
...well that last statement is a fabrication, but you get the idea.
8) More Rondoness
It's been argued over and over by the addled antiRondo faction on the internet that Rondo's stats are bogus; that they are inflated because he plays with Garnett. So when Garnett goes out what happens to Rondo's stats? Minutes- up. Shots- up. Points- up. Rebounds- up. Assists- up. Rondo critics, shut- up.
9) Saer Sene and the Renounced Senegalese
The man with the longest arms in the history of the NBA is available. Mouhamed Saer Sene has been waived by OKC. Want him? No? Didn't think so.
Cheikh Samb also of Senegal, has likewise been waived. Is it an international conspiracy against this African nation?
10) Baby and Powe
It would be wrong to not save the last "thing" to briefly discuss the contributions of Glen Big Baby Davis and Leon Powe. As previously mentioned they are both playing well at the same time, something that has not happened before. They are playing together and gaining poise. It cannot be overstated how important this is. If they continue on their current path, it is the difference between a championship and no championship.