Garnett's the leading man with Celtics

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Garnett's the leading man with Celtics

When Mickael Pietrus hit the ground with such force that he suffered a Grade 3 concussion, he was there.

When Marquis Daniels collapsed to the ground, temporarily paralyzed on the parquet last season, he was there.

And when Rajon Rondo fell to the paint, fearing he had broken his elbow during last years playoffs, he was there.

Kevin Garnett is always there.

Over the past two seasons, the Boston Celtics have coped with frightening injuries on the court as well as medical conditions that required season-ending surgeries.

They were hit with tough news before they even reached Opening Day. In December, the Cs received news that Jeff Green would require season-ending heart surgery. Months later, they were given the same diagnosis for Chris Wilcox. Fast forward one week when they learned Jeramaine ONeal needed wrist surgery that would sideline him for the remainder of the season.

Throw in injuries that hampered nearly everyone else on the team at one point or another and the Celtics were faced with adversity and uncertainty throughout the entire season.

Through it all, one voice has kept his calm squad is these distressing times. The Celtics' intense leader on the floor has also been their emotional leader in the locker room.

See how Garnetts teammates have been impacted by his commitment and dedication to them along the way as they banded together and are making a postseason push.

Mickael Pietrus: Pietrus suffered a Grade 3 concussion in March against the Philadelphia 76ers. During his recovery, Garnett was one of many teammates to reach out to him. As his lockermate, Pietrus has quickly developed a close relationship with Garnett.

He really helped me. He helped me a lot. You know KG is going to look out for everybody in this locker room and thats why I told you before, that man is not about basketball. That man is all about life. Thats what I like about KG. He looks out for everybody in this locker room.

Rajon Rondo: The fiery point guard is no stranger to hitting the floor, but last season he suffered a more serious injury that left him fearing for the future of his career. When Rondo dislocated his left elbow during the Celtics' playoff series against the Miami Heat, Garnett was, once again, the voice that kept him calm.

He was the first down there to check on Pietrus. Hes a great teammate. I think he helps you focus and breathe. I remember when Marquis got hurt, he was very vocal. When MP got hurt, he was vocal. Every time I hit the floor, hes always telling me to take my time. I havent in as serious a situation as those guys, but I think it helped them stay focused and stay calm when you have somebodys voice you can hear and try not to panic.

You know what, a matter of fact? When I hurt my elbow, he just kept saying the same thing over and over again. I was trying to stay calm but I was worried if I was ever going to play again because I thought it was broken.

I think I learn from watching him as a teammate because hes not always going to be here . . . He just doesnt panic in those situations. Hes always calm and tries to give guys time. He wants to be that voice you can focus on. If anything is that serious, you can stay focused and listen to him and what hes telling you to do. Hes not a doctor but he does a better job than a lot of the doctors Ive seen.

Brandon Bass: Bass played on three NBA teams before joining the Celtics this season, yet he had never encountered a teammate as passionate as Garnett. In the months they have spent together, Bass has already been impacted by his fellow starter.
Kevin is an emotional, passionate guy. Thats what I love. Hes been like that since the first day I got here. When MP went down, he was there talking him through the whole thing. I know MP, he knew Kev would be there for him for life. Hes one of our vocal leaders and I would say the most passionate and emotional leaders, too . . . I havent played with anyone who is as serious and passionate vocally as him . . . A lot of our sayings around here all come from KG. When were down, one of his sayings is, Keep going. If he sees anybody having a bad game or struggling in any type of way, hell say, Keep going for the guys to keep going. He talks and he goes out and gives his best effort every night, so its easy to follow someone like that.

Avery Bradley: The soft-spoken, second-year guard has quietly been listening to Garnetts words of wisdom since joining the team last season. When talking about the veteran leadership of the Celtics, Bradley specifically mentioned Garnetts encouragement and motivation.

Whenever somebody fights through adversity, all it can do is make you better. Thats what were going to do. Kevin and those guys are going to lead us through it . . . We all feel like were all brothers in here, so we all care about each other and we all want each other to be successful . . . Im telling you, Kevin plays a big part in it. He says motivational stuff before the game. You can tell everybody is mentally prepared. Even when we didnt win, we came out so strong because our leader, hes prepared every game. He prepares the same way every single game. He takes every game seriously and it rubs off on his teammates . . . You know when its game time, when we get in the circle, he makes sure everybody is ready to play. It just shows his leadership.

Keyon Dooling: Dooling is known for being a top-notch locker room guy. He is big on character and treating his teammates well, which makes Garnetts actions resonate even more with him.

Kevin is Kevin. Kevin is pretty consistent in his disposition and his demeanor every day. Hes just an amazing, amazing person to be around. Hes been great . . . Adversity builds character, brings togetherness. Unfortunately weve had some hardships but weve handled them as a team about as good as you could handle it . . . I think thats the thing in professional athletics that gets lost. Sometimes were built up as really not being normal, and were about as normal as they come. Our job is just in a public forum. There are real-life situations going on. What Jeff went through earlier in the season, what Chris is going through, what MP went through, its a lot of hardships, a lot of adversity. But together, well get through it.

Garnett is averaging 17.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in the first two games of the Celtics - Hawks series. He has played 40 minutes in each contest, including the entire fourth quarter in Tuesday's Game 2 win as the Celtics were shorthanded without Rondo (suspension) and Ray Allen (ankle).

Like many of his teammates, he is battling through bumps and bruises. Garnett, 35, is playing with a hip flexor.

Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

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Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

After the Clippers were elminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, a disappointed Paul Pierce told ESPN that he was "50-50" about retirement. 

In a video after Portland's Game 6 victory posted on oregonlive.com, the former Celtics captain said his "heart is broken" by another playoff elimination. 

Pierce signed a a three-year, $10 million contract to return home (he grew up in Inglewood, Calif.) and play for his old coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.  He'll be 39 next season and coming off the worst season of his career. Pierce averaged 6.1 points, 36 percent shooting and 18 minutes a game, all career lows.

How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

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How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

WALTHAM, Mass. -- This past season, Isaiah Thomas took a major step forward to becoming more than just a solid NBA player, but one of the game’s best.
 
He knows he won’t stay among the elite for long if he doesn’t make some changes with the most notable being to his diet.
 
“I do not eat good,” Thomas acknowledged following his exit interview this week. “I eat like a young guy, a young guy who got a little bit of money, fast food every day. But I’m definitely going to change.”
 
The change becomes necessary not only in light of how the season ended for him and the Celtics, but also for his long-term goals, which include playing in the NBA until he’s at least 40 years old.
 
“I’m not that old but the greatest players took care of their bodies the best,” Thomas said.
 
Among those cited by Thomas who excelled at taking care of their bodies was former Celtic Ray Allen.
 
But Thomas was quick to add that he won’t go to the lengths that Allen did in maintaining good health.
 
“Because he’s a little crazy with that,” quipped Thomas. “I just want to play at a high level for a long time, like Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant. You have to take care of your body. That’s half the battle of performing out there on the floor.
 
Thomas added, “This is a big summer for me to start doing that.”
 
Eating right is just part of the transformation process for Thomas.
 
He’ll also modify is offseason workouts to include some work in the boxing ring with long time friend Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
 
“I’m definitely work with him a few times, get my conditioning right, probably train, do some boxing stuff on the side, just to get in that type of shape,” Thomas said. “You get in that type of shape you won’t get tired on the basketball floor. This summer is big for me, transforming my body, getting into the best shape possible and coming back and having another all-star year.”
 
For the Celtics to improve upon this past season, they will need Thomas to continue elevating his play as well as the play of those around him.
 
It is that latter point that was among the many reasons Boston’s season is over. No matter what he did, those around him could not step their game up to a level needed in order to get past the Atlanta Hawks.
 
Chalk it up to another lesson learned for Thomas.
 
“You can’t do it on your own,” Thomas said. “There’s no way you can do it on your own. Nobody can do it on your own; and how hard it is to win playoff games, a playoff series. It’s not easy.”
 
And when you come up short, for Thomas is created an uneasiness that he never wants to experience again.
 
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to not have this feeling again,” he said. “It really hurt me. I’m going to use that as motivation to continue to get better and to work on my flaws and make those into my strengths. I promise you’ll I’ll be back better than ever next year.”