Garnett inspires wonder with inexplicable play

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Garnett inspires wonder with inexplicable play

On Saturday night, Kevin Garnett delivered his latest in a long line of headline-stealing quotes.

I have no life at this point," said Garnett, with whom I now have at least one thing in common. "I go home, get treatment, come back in here, study tape, film -- no life at all. This is what it is.

The quote goes up on the 2012 playoff cork board, along with other classics like:

Rondos the head that makes the Voltron.

Some of yall dont know how to bake, but dont worry about it. Ask your mothers and fathers or something someone who knows how to bake.

My only advice to him is next time he opens his mouth, actually know what he's talking about X's and O's versus checkbooks and bottom lines.

Happy Mothers Day to you mothers and future mothers. I aint talking to you deadbeat ass dads.

To be honest, the no life quote isnt nearly as entertaining as some of the others, but what it lacks in humor and KG-quirkiness, it makes up for in disclosure and honesty. It gives us another glimpse behind the KG curtain which was almost entirely off limits until this past season. And even if he lifted the veil only to reveal that there's nothing behind it, it was still pretty cool, and a refreshing deviation from the typical cliches we get from most athletes in every sport.

I have no life at this point. I go home, get treatment, come back in here, study tape, film no life at all. This is what it is.

This is what it is.

This is what it is.

But here's what most of us still want to know:

What exactly is this?

What are we actually seeing?

How do we explain what Kevin Garnett is doing?

It's clear that he's drawn unbelievable inspiration from the haters those who wrote him off as old, over-the-hill and unable to compete at his former Hall of Fame level. But those haters are nothing new. They've existed for years. They or, I should probably say, "we" have questioned his physical limitations since February of 2009. Are we supposed to assume that Garnett wasn't as motivated last year? That the sight of LeBron, Wade and Bosh on the other side of the court wasn't enough for him to reach his max-level of clinically insane motivation?

It's also clear that he's benefited from playing center, but that can only account for so much. Al Horford or Josh Smith? Spencer Hawes or Elton Brand? Is the difference between either of these match-ups actually the difference in KG's ridiculous production? What about the fact that his worst two games of the postseason by far occurred on nights when he was guarding, and being guarded by Jason Collins?

And it's also clear that he's at a level, physically, that he hasn't been in years. That's not to say that he's 100 percent or even close but KG's running, jumping and moving in ways he hasn't since before that aforementioned injury. And he's been doing it for the better part of this season. The same season we all assumed would run him into the ground, render him useless and likely send him into retirement. The same is season that's reeked havoc across the league and worn down many younger, stronger and, we assumed, more physically resilient players. Yet somehow, he's flourished. That alone is almost impossible to fathom. Combine it with everything else, and . . . I don't know.

Maybe it just is what it is. Far be it from a Boston sports fan to ever question that mantra. And really, at this point, why question anything? Why waste a second wondering how this happened, when it's far more satisfying to sit back revel in the fact that it is happening.

And with that, I should probably apologize for 700 words worth of wonder. I probably would have been better off using this space as an opportunity to declare that there's no chance that KG can keep this up. That he's bound to wear down and take the Celtics with him. I could have printed it out, slipped it into his locker during pre-game and watched the Sixers pay the price.

But right now, it really seems like KG is past that.

He's got all the fuel he needs. He's all gassed up. He's locked in.

Game. Home. Treatment. Tape. Film. Game.

Rinse and repeat. And hopefully, until much further notice.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

The '86 Celtics Interviews podcast (Ep.8): Dan Shaughnessy

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The '86 Celtics Interviews podcast (Ep.8): Dan Shaughnessy

Boston Globe columnist, and former Celtics beat writer, Dan Shaughnessy sits down with CSN for an extended discussion on "The '86 Celtics Interviews" podcast. Shaughnessy talks about the greatness of that team and the players' surprising reaction when they found out he was moving from the Celtics to the Red Sox beat.

Starter, bench or DNP: Zeller ready for any role with Celtics

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Starter, bench or DNP: Zeller ready for any role with Celtics

Every weekday until Sept. 7, we'll take a look at each player at the Celtics roster: Their strengths and their weaknesses, their ceiling and their floor. We continue today with Tyler Zeller. For a look at the other profiles, click here.

BOSTON – The NBA is a league full of highs and lows for players.

There are few who understand this as well as Tyler Zeller, a player who has gone from starting to being a backup to not playing at all – at times in the same week.

And through it all, you never heard him gripe about it publicly or privately to teammates.

It’s among the many reasons you constantly hear his teammates talk about how much they respect the way he has handled some extremely difficult situations.

This past season was especially tough for him considering he was heading into free agency and looking to do all he could to not just win, but showcase what he could do as player.

There were many nights when Zeller didn’t have that opportunity, but he understood.

The Celtics have been and will continue to be a team that’s about finding ways to win and on many nights coach Brad Stevens decided to go in a direction that didn’t include Zeller playing.

As the summer dragged on and the Celtics’ joined the handful of teams that came up short in landing Kevin Durant, Zeller’s return became more likely.

And Zeller’s patience was rewarded with a two-year, $16 million contract with the second year of the deal being a team option.

Now that he’s back in the fold, what’s next?

The ceiling for Zeller: Part-time starter

It may not happen on opening night and it may not happen in the first week, or even first month, of the season.

But at some point, Tyler Zeller will be in the Celtics’ starting lineup.

And when he’s there, he’ll do a lot of good things that he has proven he’s capable of doing.

When it comes to running the floor in transition, Zeller has distinguished himself as one of the Celtics best big men.

The Celtics are big on playing with space and pace and there are few 7-footers who can run the floor as well as Zeller.

In fact, his PACE (number of possessions per 48 minutes) last season was 101.93 which was tops among all Celtics frontcourt players and second overall to guard Marcus Smart (102.46).

It’ll get the Celtics a few easy buckets here and there, but it won’t score enough points with the coaching staff to keep a starting job, which would then relegate him back to being one of the team’s frontcourt reserves.

Still, Zeller is a luxury that few teams have: a player who won’t get (overly) bent out of shape even if his minutes resemble this.

The floor for Zeller: On the roster

Zeller has spent the bulk of his NBA career as a back-to-the-basket center, but showed more desire to score more from the perimeter last season, which is one of the reasons why he shot a career-low 47.6 percent from the field.

He’s trying to expand his game because of the direction that the NBA is going with big men who need to be able to score further away from the basket in addition to providing a presence around the rim.

While Zeller has decent mechanics on his perimeter shot, it’s clear that he’s not yet totally comfortable being a “stretch big.”

According to NBA.com/stats, Zeller shot 30.9 percent from the field last season on wide open shot attempts from at least 10 feet away.

With the addition of Al Horford and the return of Amir Johnson as well as Kelly Olynyk, Boston has a nice group of stretch centers they can put on the floor. And let’s not forget about Jonas Jerebko, who closed out the playoffs as a starter for Boston.

Minutes will once again be hard to come by for Zeller with any kind of consistency.

In fact, there’s a very good chance that he will have some games in which he doesn’t play (coaches decision) at all.

And depending on injuries, he may have to be inactive at times just to ensure Boston has depth on the perimeter.

Whether he’s starting, coming off the bench or not suited up at all, Zeller is an important part of this Celtics squad. Above all else, he provides depth, which continues to be one of the hallmarks for this franchise under Stevens.