The age of Garnett is noteworthy

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The age of Garnett is noteworthy

Shhh. Don't bring it up to Kevin Garnett, but he turns 36 on Saturday.
Why the hush-hushness of his birthday?
Garnett is tired of hearing about his age. He doesnt let his years define him on the court, and he doesnt want others to either.
The big man is averaging 20.3 points and 11.0 rebounds per game this postseason. In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, Garnett posted 27 points and 13 rebounds, his fourth consecutive double-double and seventh of the playoffs.
He isnt surprised by his performance, and doesnt really appreciate those who doubted he was capable of it in the first place.
I take this very seriously, Garnett said last week following the Celtics' Game 6 elimination of the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. So you guys calling me old, that number just fuels the fire. You all have no idea what you are doing when you do that. So I appreciate you all. Whoevers writing the old comments and all that, keep doing that. I appreciate that. I dont read your columns, but it gets back to me. All right?
The fact of the matter is, though, playing at such a high level at this point in his career is noteworthy. Not because it was improbable, but because such a small number of players continue to do so when they are turning 36 and in their 17th year in the NBA.
Garnett was one of 12 players born in 1976 to play in the NBA this season. Tony Battie, Chauncey Billups, Tim Duncan, Brian Skinner, Earl Boykins, Brad Miller, Antawn Jamison, Andre Miller, Eduardo Najera, Raja Bell, and Francisco Elson are the others. Garnett is younger than Battie, Elson, Andre Miller, Brad Miller, and Duncan.
Garnett was the first player born in 1976 to be drafted. He entered the NBA in 1996, the only member of his draft class born that year. As a result, he leads all players born the same year in minutes played. (His 45,779 minutes are over 6,000 more than those of Duncan.) Garnett ranks second among all active players in minutes played behind only Jason Kidd.
There are only three players older than Garnett still playing at this point in the postseason -- Juwan Howard (39), Derek Fisher (37), and teammate Ray Allen (36).
Garnett ranks 9th overall in postseason scoring (20.3ppg). He is the oldest of the top 23 scorers. Duncan, one month is senior, is ranked 24th.
See how Garnetts postseason stat line (17th season, 20.3 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists) compares to how Hall of Fame big men performed in the playoffs at age 35:
Charles Barkley (15th season): 23.5 points, 13.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists
Karl Malone (14th season): 21.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists
Kevin McHale (13th season): 19.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 0.8 assists
Hakeem Olajuwon (14th season): 20.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Garnett is 1-0 on his birthday. He played on his 28th birthday (May 19, 2004), Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings. He celebrated the day with a 32-point, 21-rebound double-double en route to the Timberwolves 83-80 elimination victory.
Garnett shares a May 19 birthday with Dolph Schayes, Bill Laimbeer, Mario Chalmers, Richard Dumas, Butch Feher, Hamed Haddadi, Brian Skinner, and Michael Smith.

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

BOSTON – From the outset of this season, the Boston Celtics were swimming upstream when it came to getting respect. 

No matter how many wins they racked up, no matter how many upsets they managed to pull off, they were never going to do enough to satisfy the court of public opinion which wanted one thing and one thing only from the NBA: A third installment of Golden State against Cleveland in the NBA Finals. 

The Warriors did their part by running through the West with 12 wins in as many playoff games. 

Meanwhile, the Celtics will try to not just stave off elimination tonight, but continue to delay what so many believe is an inevitable Golden State-Cleveland Final.

Boston’s Al Horford understands that while the league this season has seen lots of individual success as well as teams that have overachieved, the thirst for Golden State versus Cleveland remains stronger than ever. 

“We understand that’s what everyone has been talking about since the beginning of the season,” Horford said. “For us it’s just to focus … and play the Celtic way. And just come out here and fight and we’ll take it from there.”

The Celtics did that in Game 3 with Avery Bradley delivering one of the more memorable shots in the Brad Stevens era, a game-winning three-pointer that hit the rim four times before falling with 0.1 seconds to play as Boston squeaked out a 111-108 win.

Boston did a lot of good things in Game 4 and seemingly went into the half sensing that maybe just maybe they would even up the series at two games heading back to Boston for tonight’s Game 5 matchup. 

But Kyrie Irving picked up the slack for a foul-plagued LeBron James, lifting the Cavaliers to a 112-99 win which puts them now just a win away from advancing to the NBA Finals. 

Not only have folks both in the media as well as fans who have rooted for this series to be over, even merchandise sellers like Dick Sporting Goods have anticipated this series as already being over.

“It is what it is,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “It’s been like that all year; a lot of guys counting us out. At the same time, we’re trying to put ourselves in position to win each and every game.”

While that has been the goal, it certainly hasn’t worked out that way in this series. 

Despite Games 1 and 2 being at the TD Garden, the Celtics lost both games by a total of 57 points. 

And while they won Game 3 and had the Cavaliers on the ropes in Game 4 before losing, they know their chance to play NBA Finals spoiler is just about up. 

“We know that’s the Finals that everybody wants to talk about, what everybody is looking forward to,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “We understand it. But we work just as hard as these guys. We just have to keep going out there and working. We’re not going to give it to them, and stuff like that. We just have to make it tough on them.”