What does the future hold for Garnett?

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What does the future hold for Garnett?

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON In the aftermath of the Boston Celtics' season-ending loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday, Kevin Garnett was nowhere to be found inside the locker room.

Having already boarded the team bus, Garnett's actions made it quite obvious that he was ready to move on.

The question remains, though: Where to?

Will he return to Boston for one final season, or will he call it a career?

When you look at the core pieces to the Green machine, Garnett's status is the only one with a high degree of uncertainty.

Coach Doc Rivers said he's "leaning heavily" towards coming back next season, with multiple reports on Thursday indicating the Celtics and Rivers were working towards a new multiyear contract. Ray Allen, who can opt out of his contract (worth 10 million next season), has indicated that he plans on returning to the C's as well.

Pierce signed a four-year, 61.3 million extension last summer that'll take him through the 2013-14 season while Rondo's contract runs through 2014-15.

That leaves the return of Garnett, the anchor of the Celtics' defense, very much in limbo.

During the season, Garnett would not address his future specifically. But he dropped a number of hints that would lead you to believe that retirement was something he was at least giving some thought.

"Obviously, we're singing the Boys II Men theme here, 'End of the Road,' " Garnett said recently. "But it's all good. I paid my dues. I put down the blood, sweat and enough tears and I'm happy where where I'm at in life. No complaints."

This most recent playoff series brought out the best and worst of Garnett.

In Game 3, Garnett's 28-point, 18-rebound night led to the C's lone victory in the series. He followed that up 48 hours later with a 1-for-10 shooting night, the worst shooting performance of his career.

That sequence speaks volumes about how Garnett's role with the team has changed.

For years, Garnett has been one of the NBA's top players because being good was never enough. The 6-foot-11 forward has worked tirelessly on his game, which is deeply rooted in playing tough defense.

But Garnett, who will turn 35 years old next week, also has the ability to stretch defenses with his perimeter game as well.

After having spent almost half of his life in the NBA, it's clear that Garnett has lost a step or two at both ends of the floor. And while he's still an effective player, those times of dominance that fans have come to expect, are fewer and farther between.

Rivers knows all too well that there will come a day when his days of coaching Garnett will end.

"I say it all the time, if you can coach one guy or work with one guy in your career, you should work or coach with Kevin Garnett at one point," Rivers said. "He's a pro's pro. He understands when he doesn't play well. And when he plays well, he comes back the next day to play better. That's just the way he is."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics can't complete comeback, fall to Bucks, 103-100

Celtics can't complete comeback, fall to Bucks, 103-100

BOSTON – Wednesday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks wasn’t the first time during their impressive run at home that the Boston Celtics found themselves playing from behind most of the game.

But as hard as the Celtics fought, putting together one mini-run after another, it just wasn’t enough to knock off the red-hot Milwaukee Bucks who came away with a 103-100 win. 

The Celtics (48-27) had their four-game winning streak snapped while the Bucks (39-36) have now won 13 of their last 16 games as they continue to climb the Eastern Conference standings and pose a legit threat to any team they face in the first round of the playoffs. 

Boston, which trailed by as many as 14 points, rallied to tie the game at 93 in the fourth, but back-to-back baskets by Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon put the Bucks ahead 97-93. The Celtics soon found themselves back to within one possession after Jae Crowder split a pair of free throws making it a 99-96 game. 

But the Bucks did as they had done all game, responding to the moment with a big play of their own. This time it was Brogdon finding Greg Monroe under the rim after Al Horford slipped, for an easy dunk that made it a 101-96 game with 1:06 to play. 

A Celtics' time-out led to an Isaiah Thomas lay-up, making it a 101-97 game. Boston’s defense stiffened up, forcing a 24-second violation which led to a 20-second time-out by Boston with 36.9 seconds to play. The Celtics got another quick basket from Thomas who led all scorers with 32 points. 

Boston seemed on the verge of forcing a Milwaukee miss, only for Brogdon to step up with a clutch, tightly contested jumper that made it a 3-point game with 3.9 seconds to play. He finished with 16 points, nine assists and four rebounds.

Following a Celtics time-out, desperate for a 3-pointer to force overtime, Boston’s in-bounds pass was deflected. Marcus Smart was able to corral it before time expired, but his desperation was nowhere close to hitting the rim let alone going in. 

This game had the feel of a down-to-the-wire battle from the outset.

The Celtics were tied at 24-all after the first quarter, and trailed by six points at the half. Boston had good stretches in the third quarter, but once again found themselves trying to cut into Milwaukee’s lead which stood at 80-77 going into the fourth. But like each of the three previous quarters, the Celtics saw the window to close the gap slammed shut in their face as the Bucks opened the fourth with an 8-3 run to lead 88-80.

Boston’s uphill battle was fueled in part by a Milwaukee Bucks defense that didn’t give the Celtics many good looks at the rim. And offensively, Milwaukee’s ball movement was solid all game, generating lots of good looks at the rim. 

Despite all that, the Celtics were down just 90-87 following a 3-point play by Tyler Zeller. Boston had a chance to tie the game, only for Terry Rozier’s 3-pointer to hit the back of the rim and roll out. Bucks coach Jason Kidd knew he had to do something to slow the growing momentum by Boston, leading to him calling a time-out with 5:35 to play with it being a one-possession game. 

Boston continued to fight its way back into the game, and were within two (93-91) after Marcus Smart made the second of two free throws. 

He wasn’t done. 

Smart, who had his second double-double of the season with 11 points and a career high-tying 11 rebounds, scored on a driving lay-up to knot the game at 93-all with 2:46 to play. From there, the Celtics could not make the necessary plays to get the victory. 

Stars, studs and duds at halftime: Isaiah Thomas opens with efficiency

Stars, studs and duds at halftime: Isaiah Thomas opens with efficiency

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics found themselves in an unfamiliar place for most of the first half against Milwaukee. The Celtics were playing from behind as the half ended, and were trailing the Milwaukee Bucks 55-49.

The Bucks opened the game with a 14-4 run, only for Boston to respond with 10 straight to tie the game at 14. Boston would take the lead but couldn’t put much distance between itself and Milwaukee, with their lead in the first quarter peaking at just four points.

After a 24-all tie to end the first, Milwaukee opened with an 8-0 run and played with the lead for the remainder of the second quarter in which their lead grew to as many as 14 points. 

But the Celtics chipped away at the Bucks' lead, getting it down to as little has four points on multiple occasions before the Bucks wound up taking a six-point lead into the half. 

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Wednesday’s game against the Bucks. 

STARS

Khris Middleton: Milwaukee’s ball movement created lots of open looks, and nobody seemed to benefit more from this than Middleton. He had 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting with four rebounds and two assists. 

Isaiah Thomas: He didn’t take a lot of shots, but made the ones he did take count. He had 20 points at the half on 5-for-7 shooting from the field. 

STUDS

Giannis Antetokounmpo: The Greek Freak was solid in the first half with 12 points on 5-for-11 shooting. 

Mirza Teletovic: He gave the Bucks a nice offensive spark to the second quarter, finishing with eight points on 3-for-5 shooting.

Avery Bradley: He managed to get some easy looks on cuts to the basket, finishing with eight points on 4-for-9 shooting and three rebounds. 

DUDS

Celtics composure: Both Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas picked up technical fouls in the second quarter, letting their emotions get the better of them. And on top of that, they turned the ball over 11 times which led to five points for the Bucks but even more important, took away potential scoring opportunities for the Celtics.