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Boston is 4-7, if Kevin Garnett doesn’t turn it around neither will Boston

Jan 15, 2012, 2:59 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat Getty Images

When Kevin Garnett came to the Celtics in 2008, he helped change the team culture by not putting up with excuses. He wanted his ring and this team was going to get him there — don’t pull your own weight at your own risk. To this day he still talks a good game.

But this year the Celtics are off to a 4-7 start after Saturday’s loss to the Pacers — and part of the problem is Kevin Garnett has been just average.

His shooting percentage fell from 52.8 percent last season to 48.5 percent this year. He is rebounding less and turning the ball over more. He is getting about one fewer shots per game at the rim than last year and the long two pointer he used to knock down steadily is falling 41 percent of the time, down from 47 percent last year. (Stats via Hoopdata.)

Is it his sore ankle? A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com wondered after the Celtics latest loss Saturday but this is what happened when he was asked about it.

“Y’all have a good night,” Garnett said in ending his post-game interview.

Doc Rivers has gone to using Garnett in a “5-5-5” system — give KG three different five-minute stretches per half so his ankle isn’t aggravated. That hasn’t worked, as Blakely pointed out.

The problem so far, Rivers said, has been Garnett being ineffective for the bulk of the five-minutes, but seemingly turning it on shortly before he is to be subbed out.

“Three times (against Chicago), giving you nothing for about four minutes,” Rivers said. “And then right at the fifth minute when he comes out, he makes a shot. And then your every impulse, keep him in. Then you risk the rest of the game. So it’s just a tough call right now. I still like it; I don’t love it, but it’s what we have to do.”

The Boston Celtics are Rajon Rondo’s team now, but they are going to need quality play from the big three to make it work — to go after one more banner — and while Ray Allen has been impressive Garnett and Paul Pierce (who has seen his PER has dropped from borderline All-Star level of 19.7 to an average 15.4 (the league average is 15). This is a veteran team and three weeks into the season is far too early to write them off — and you do not blow this team up now. This is the kind of team that can rebound.

But it is going to take KG and PP finding something close to their old selves for Boston to even make the playoffs, let alone be a threat in them.

  1. mnsadsportsfan - Jan 15, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    This could have been a story last year aswell. KG is as done as the hand clapping powder routine

  2. trbowman - Jan 15, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Celtics can only be bad for so long.

  3. glink123 - Jan 15, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    KG will be a Bull next season. Welcome home, big fella.

  4. keyshawn22 - Jan 15, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Expecting KG to be a top 3 player in the league as he was prior to his knee injury is unrealistic. He is now a decent offensive player and a good to very good defensive player. Pierce seems to have fallen off even more so as he isn’t getting to the basket and isn’t finishing when he does and is average defensively. The celtics will be dangerous in the playoffs but now im starting to wonder if we are going to make it there.

    Waiting for the usual comment from bozo hating on the celtics with nothing about basketball to back it up…

    • jimeejohnson - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      No need to hate on the Celtics. The embattled Boston fan base will do enough hating for the rest of us.

  5. drewzducks - Jan 15, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Unfortunately I’ve seen every game this year and he has aged very quickly the last year. Rajon may be wishing he was dealt if this keeps up much longer. No offensive rhythm at all and an old team isn’t gonna win consistently when they’re falling behind every game.

  6. vicktator - Jan 15, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    I told people before the season, the Atlantic division will be the sixers division, I was laughed at, but who is laughing now.

  7. mikeyman321 - Jan 15, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Boston is missing Jeff Green off the bench

  8. Kansachusetts - Jan 15, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Kurt, your analysis is correct. Both Garnett and Pierce have to pick themselves up or they might not even make the playoffs.
    But there are some good signs, including Bass, and a gradually improving team defense. The big problem is they don’t have the muscle and they don’t have the lift.

  9. havlicekstoletheball - Jan 16, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    Garnett is finished, unless he has some fountain of youth serum in his locker. The biggest drop-off is in his rebounding. Not only is he getting a lot fewer (7.1) than last year (8.9) and his career averages (10.7), but his man is killing him on the boards, which means he isn’t boxing out.

    He has played 1,200 games, and that seems to be the limit of a big man’s legs. Would be interesting to see Kareem’s numbers after 1,200 games, Robert Parish, too, and O’neal’s last three years or so.

  10. pukpokito - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Rebuild.Don’t get Rondo and Bass Hurt.Work for the draft position.distribute minutes evenly.Let Johnson and Moore develop by giving them more playing time and confidence.Concentrate on getting Fresh Blood in the summer.For the Celtics, it’s Championhip or bust anyway.Not winning it this season.Rebuild.1 step backward.3 steps forward.

  11. cluelessdufus - Jan 17, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    from a 35 year old PF people still complain. boston has the chance to turn it around but there gonna need a lot more from rondo and have the big three step it up besides that you could see them hiting between the 5 and 8 seed team there gonna need a lot more from everybody every game not just garnett

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