Garnett proving age is just a number this season


Garnett proving age is just a number this season

CLEVELAND Kevin Garnett had 18 points. He grabbed eight rebounds. He made all eight of his free throw attempts.

Even with the stats, they only provide a glimpse into how important Garnett was in Boston's 86-83 win.

"He was our anchor," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "He's just been so solid for us."

For the Celtics, a team that has been anything but solid this season, Garnett's steady play has been instrumental in this team's drop-off not being any steeper.

But Garnett's contributions go much deeper than what we saw on Tuesday, or what we've seen from him this season.

"You never seen somebody play the amount of minutes and the amount of years and still have the most energy on the court, either team," Celtics guard Keyon Dooling told "Everybody want to harp on the age and things like that, but look at him? The motor he brings everyday, you got guys 21 years old who can't bring that amount of energy every night."

But as Garnett gets older, Celtics coach Doc Rivers monitors his minutes even closer - even in practice.

Rivers went pretty hard on the guys in practice on Monday, and wasn't sure what he would get from Garnett.

"He came back and was absolutely wonderful," Rivers said.

Especially of late on offense.

And while some see Garnett as having opened the second half of the season up by stepping up his play, those who have played with him all season see him as doing nothing on Tuesday that he hasn't been doing most of this season.

"He's been the model of consistency for us throughout the whole year," said Paul Pierce.

However, Pierce said the C's are making a point of getting him the ball more on the post, which opens things up for not just him - but for the entire Celtics team.

"We're getting him the ball more, and that's the key," Pierce added. "When he's playing well, we're tough to beat."

Garnett was pleased that the Celtics got the win.

But he by no means was satisfied with the C's performance which all would agree, has to be better - much better - moving forward.

"This is going to be a grind right here, a true grind," Garnett said, referring to the second half of the season. "Physically, but mentally we have to be into it and prepare and just be ready to hoop."

Francona misses second game this month because of health issues

Francona misses second game this month because of health issues

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona missed Tuesday night's game against Texas after his second trip to the hospital this month.

The Indians said doctors for now have ruled out major health issues and Francona will be monitored the next several weeks.

Francona, 58, left Monday night's game because he wasn't feeling well. He spent several hours at Cleveland Clinic and underwent a series of tests.

Francona was released from the hospital on Tuesday and spent the rest of the day at home. He was expected to return to the dugout Wednesday when the Indians host the Rangers. Cleveland lost to Texas 2-1 on Tuesday.

Bench coach Brad Mills ran the team in Francona's absence. Cleveland began the day in first place in the AL Central after rallying for a 15-9 win Monday.

"Tito actually wanted to come back to the ballpark today," team president Chris Antonetti said Tuesday. "I told him he can't come back to the ballpark today. He only got a couple hours of sleep last night, so despite his desire to want to be here, I thought it was best that he gets some rest tonight and just come back tomorrow. His plan when he was getting released from the hospital was to come over here."

"I don't think he was exceedingly happy with me," Antonetti said with a laugh. "That's OK."

Francona was hospitalized June 13 following a game at Progressive Field. He underwent tests and was released a few hours later, returning to work the following night. Last August, he missed a game after experiencing chest pains but was back the next day.

"Thankfully, we've got some great doctors that are coordinating his care," Antonetti said. "They've done every test they can possibly imagine. They've all come back clean. They're now working to try to figure out what are some of those things that are causing him to not feel so well."

Francona, a close friend of Mills for several years, has retained his sense of humor through his health issues.

A statement released by the team Tuesday read, "Mr. Francona also wanted to express that medical personnel have not yet ruled out an allergy to Bench Coach Brad Mills."