KG remains center of attention, at center

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KG remains center of attention, at center

Kevin Garnett's return in all likelihood means a return back to center - a position he hates to play.

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, speaking prior to Garnett's decision to return to Boston after agreeing to a three-year deal, said he plans to keep Garnett in the middle.

"Unless we get a center," Rivers said. "Kevin can play either position. I don't think it really matters."

It does to Garnett, whose first words when asked about playing center usually go something like, "I hate it."

But Garnett has been among the more outspoken C's in discussing the need to sacrifice one self to bring about a greater good for the team.

That is why despite his disdain for the position, he refuses to sulk or make a big deal about it.

He goes out and plays well - arguably as well as any center in the East not named Dwight Howard.

After averaging 15.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game during the regular season, Garnett was a dominant postseason force for Boston in averaging a double-double of 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

Playing center, much like an NBA career in which he has spent more than half his life playing, isn't exactly what Garnett envisioned for himself.

But the position, much like his place among the all-time greats, is one in which he has gradually adapted and for the most part, accepted.

During this past season, Garnett reflected at times on a career that he knows all too well is drawing to a conclusion sooner rather than later.

Still, he showed the world this past season that he still had what it takes to remain relevant in talks about the game's top big men and maybe even more important, remain a leader both in his words and his works.

"Duration is everything, man," Garnett said earlier this season. "To be able still, to be playing on this level, it says a lot. It's not like I'm playing on some grand level, but I am playing on a decent level to where it's helping the team and I'm still trying to create different edges and different matchups and different mismatches night-in, night-out. And I still have a brain; I still know how to think this game. There's different formats of the game for me at this point. and I'm still enjoying the game. As long as those components are still a part, then I'm good."

But Garnett isn't coming back to be just a teacher to the next generation of Celtics.

He's far too competitive, too talented to be pigeon-holed into that role.

His lessons by example will be just as vital as those in which he spells out in plain English - with an expletive, or two, or three or thrown in - what it takes to be a successful NBA player.

And while Garnett will continue to reach various milestones and continue to play a role in the next generation of Celtics players, he's coming back for one thing only - another shot at a title.

"I got one more goal; I got one more goal since I've been here that I'm trying to accomplish with everybody else," he said. "I think it falls in line with everybody elses' goal. I don't think I gotta tell y'all what that goal is."

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

BOSTON – This continues to be a historic season for Isaiah Thomas as more records fell in Wednesday’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee, and the company he’s keeping becomes even more exclusive. 

Thomas had a game-high 32 points on Wednesday which included five made 3’s on nine attempts. That gave him 223 for the season which is a new franchise single-season record for made 3-pointers. The previous record was 222 set by Antoine Walker during the 2001-2002 season.

And his 32 points scored gives him 2,012 this season. 

Only six players in franchise history (Paul Pierce was the last to do it during the 2005-2006 season) have scored 2,000 or more points in a single season. 

Oh, there’s more. 

With Wednesday being the 66th time this season he has had 20 or more points, Thomas has now tied Pierce (2005-2006) and Larry Bird (1985-1986; 1987-1988) for sixth on the Celtics’ single-season franchise list. 

“I didn’t even know that,” a visibly disappointed Thomas said following Wednesday’s loss. “It doesn’t feel that good right now. But when I look back on it, probably in the offseason, I’ll appreciate it a little more. But I’m just staying in the moment and try and play as best I can to lead this team to as many wins as possible.”

Other season milestones Thomas is in the mix for include the following:

  • The 5-foot-9 guard is one of three players this season to have 50 or more games of 25-plus points, joined by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (57) and Houston’s James Harden (54).
  • Thomas has made at least one 3-pointer in a franchise-record 50 straight games (Dec. 3 – March 29). That’s also the longest current streak in the NBA. 
  • With 66 games of 20 or more points this season, Thomas is second in the NBA to Westbrook (67).

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

BOSTON – One of the more bizarre plays in Boston’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee came in the second quarter, requiring some explanation from the officials afterwards. 

With 3:55 to play in the second quarter, the officials had originally called a foul on Marcus Smart which he verbally protested that eventually led to him being whistled for a technical foul. 

After the officials reviewed the play, they changed the call to a personal foul against Khris Middleton but no change to the called technical foul against Smart who objected to a call that, upon review, they agreed was the wrong call to make. 

Official Sean Corbin, through pool reporter Ken Powtak of the Associated Press, acknowledged that the original call was a loose ball foul against Smart. 

“The (officiating) crew got together, we met prior to video and we decided that we needed to look at video because both players were on the floor bleeding so we went to the video for a hostile act,” Corbin told Powtak. “In the review we noticed that Khris Middleton initially made contact to Marcus Smart’s face. That’s how the original contact to the play occurred.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, Middleton missed his technical free throw while Smart split a pair of free throws which cut Milwaukee’s lead to 49-40.

Still, that’s no consolation for Smart who was whistled for a technical foul on a play that the official acknowledged was the wrong call to make. 

In the fourth quarter, Smart was at the center of yet another controversial call that was also reviewed by the officials. The verdict wasn't nearly as good for Smart who was whistled for a flagrant foul after getting his feet tangled up with Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo who was called for a non-shooting foul in the play with 4:46 to play. 

Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws and on the Bucks' ensuing possession, he was called for traveling.

Smart was unavailable to talk after the game in part because the aforementioned incident left an abrasion to his mouth and, because of the technical foul, a little lighter in the wallet as well.