Celtics Question of the Day: How many games for Garnett?


Celtics Question of the Day: How many games for Garnett?

Kevin Garnett has proven himself to be an indispensable part of the Boston Celtics from the moment he set foot in New England.

His play as a scorer, defender and all-around impact performer is undeniable. But as we've seen and have been told time and time again by Garnett, the man is human. He makes mistakes.

And yes, even Garnett who for so many years played with Cal Ripken-like consistency, has shown signs of wearing down either by way of injury or just Father Time.

Throughout his 17 NBA seasons, Garnett has averaged appearing in 73.8 games per season which includes a pair of lockout-shortened seasons (1999 and last season) and a third year (2008-2009) when he missed the final 25 regular season games.

That iron man-like durability hasn't necessarily translated to Boston where he has appeared in no more than 71 regular season games in a season.

Which begs the question, how many games can the Celtics count on having KG in the lineup this year? In his five seasons in Boston, Garnett has appeared in 83 percent of the Celtics' regular season games, or 68 out of a possible full 82-game season.

In that case, 68 should be the overunder as to the number of games Garnett will appear in.

I'm going to go with the over on this for several reasons.

Garnett's talent and pride won't allow him to miss many games if he's not hurt. The C's have tinkered with the idea of sitting him down from time to time for the past couple of years, but Garnett has proven to be too valuable to the C's success and too strong-willed for something like that to happen with any kind of regularity.

And when you talk about him missing games due to injuries, that seems less likely now that he'll be playing the center position almost exclusively even if he doesn't like being called the 'C' word. With Brandon Bass and Jeff Green in the fold, along with rookie Jared Sullinger, it's clear that Garnett's greatest value to the Celtics will be when he's at center. It is a position that on most nights favors him and the Celtics significantly, which is why it worked so well a year ago.

But even when at center, the C's are mindful to keep an eye on his minutes which only enhances the chances of him staying healthy and injury-free.

And remember, last season he appeared in 60 out of a possible 66 regular season games, a shade under 91 percent of the games played by Boston which was the highest percentage of games he appeared in since coming to Boston five years ago.

Handling Garnett properly is a fine line for the C's, obviously.

But it has to be done -- and be done right -- for them to have the kind of season they and their fans expect.

Horford's all-around play key in first regular season game with Celtics

Horford's all-around play key in first regular season game with Celtics

BOSTON – The Al Horford love fest continues with the veteran big man delivering yet another impressive performance for the Boston Celtics.

And this one?

Unlike his play in the preseason, Wednesday night's game counts.

Horford’s all-around play was pivotal to Boston holding on for a 122-117 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

CELTICS 122, NETS 117:

The four-time All-Star made several high-basketball IQ-type plays that in hindsight, were major key moments in Boston pushing its lead to as many as 23 points.

In the third quarter with Boston ahead 71-65, Horford took advantage of Brooklyn closing out too hard on him and drove into the lane. As the Nets defenders collapsed to take away a shot attempt in the lane, Horford swung the ball to Jae Crowder whose jumper triggered a 14-5 run.

Boston would lead by double figures until the last couple of minutes of the game.

“We have to keep playing the right way, for 48 minutes,” Horford said when asked about the team’s late-game collapse.

The late-game struggles aside, there was a lot to like about how the Celtics played throughout the first 40 minutes.

And a big part of that strong play has to be credited to Horford whose ability to help keep the ball moving allowed the Celtics to finish with 36 assists on 48 made field goals, the kind of opening night assist numbers that haven’t been seen around these parts in decades.

Horford was among those getting into the act, scoring 11 points to go with five rebounds and six assists.

To see him racking up guard-like assist numbers isn’t unusual when you consider he was third in the league last season in assists per game (3.2) for a center.

“Guys were moving the ball very well,” Horford said. “It’s kind of contagious.”

Said Crowder: “I never saw coaches clap on a three-second call. We moved the ball in the first quarter so much we got a three-second call. We passed up a lot of open shots. It just shows how unselfish we are playing as a unit.”

And while that selfless brand of basketball was on display at times last season, the addition of Horford seems to have taken it to another level.

“He opens the floor, he makes it easier for everybody; he’s always in the right spots, he’s a threat at all times,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “He can hit the 3, hit the mid-range, and also post up so he has the full package; a guy that makes it easy for everybody.”