Garnett proving age is just a number this season

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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 CSNNE.com. "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."

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

NEW ORLEANS -- There will be a significant faction of Celtics Nation who will see DeMarcus Cousins’ trade to New Orleans as a lost opportunity for the C's, who could have offered a much more enticing trade package than the one the Sacramento Kings accepted.
 
The Kings received nothing even remotely close to a king’s ransom for Cousins, acquiring him in exchange for rookie Buddy Hield, journeyman Langston Galloway and ex-Pelican Tyreke Evans (who has never been the same since his Rookie of the Year season in 2010), along with a protected first-round pick and a future second-round selection.

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While the knee-jerk reaction is to focus on why Boston decided to not pursue a trade for Cousins, more important is what the non-decision means for the moment and going forward.
 
Think about what the Celtics have done in the last three-plus seasons.
 
They went from being a lottery team to one that has the second-best record in the East. They're holding the potential No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft; at worst, the pick will be in the top four or five. They have three of the most team-friendly contracts (Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder) in the NBA. They have promising prospects overseas as well as in the D-League. And they're led by a coach who has improved his coaching acumen -- and the team’s win total -- every year he's been on the job.
 
And it's all enveloped by a culture with a high level of selflessness, which has created a locker-room environment that has been more about fighting for each other than fighting one another or others off the court.
 
Do you really think Cousins’ talent would have trumped the baggage he'd be bringing to the Celtics if they'd acquired him?
 
For him to have fit in with this team would have required him to make the kind of changes that, frankly, I just don’t see him being capable of making at this point.
 
On more than one occasion, “not fitting in” with the Celtics culture was given to me as the reason why a Cousins-to-Boston trade never gained any traction with the team’s brass. Or coaching staff, for that matter.
 
While there's no denying that he's arguably the best center in the NBA, Cousins is a high-risk, high-reward talent that makes sense to pursue if you're a franchise which has nothing to lose by adding him to the mix. Like, say, New Orleans.
 
The Pelicans are 11th in the Western Conference despite having Anthony Davis, who has been asked to carry the weight of a franchise that has yet to figure out the best combination of talent to surround him with and find success.
 
The addition of Cousins not only provides Davis some major help, but serves as a reminder of just how desperate the Pelicans are.
 
While there are mixed reports on whether the package of assets the Kings agreed to was the best they could have received for Cousins, there was no way they were going to get anything close to comparable talent in exchange for him.
 
And that was solely due to the risk that any team was willing to take on in order to acquire him.
 
At some point, the Celtics need to take advantage of an opportunity to go all-in for a superstar player. But this was not that time, or that player.