After Game 2 of Boston’s opening round series against Atlanta, Kevin Garnett said the Celtics were “all grit and balls.”
28 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks and three steals later, Kevin Garnett carried the Celtics to an 83-80 series clinching victory over the Hawks in Game 6. The Big Ticket’s impact on this series isn’t hard to grasp. Simply put, he was vintage KG. With Garnett on the floor the Celtics were +73. When he was sitting on the pine -42.
One question remains though: With so many game changing injuries having already occurred in the NBA, can a veteran Celtics team stay together for one last title run? The Celtics weaknesses were pretty glaring in this series. They can’t rebound, they lack elite athleticism, they struggle to score for stretches and they’re old.
Despite all of the above, when the Green Team plays at their peak they can be the best team in basketball. After the All Star break the C’s went 26 -12 down the stretch—proving they still had gas in the tank.
In the next round they will play the upstart Philadelphia 76ers and rekindle an old school playoff rivalry. In two different affairs in “The City of Brotherly Love,” the C’s were not feeling any love.
In their first face-off, former No. 2 overall pick Evan Turner had the best game of his young NBA career. Pouring in 26 points and grabbing nine boards. Along with Turner’s effort the Green Team failed to hit the glass and got out rebounded by 19.
In the second game the Celtics started out strong, before a scary injury derailed their momentum. Late in the first half swingman Mickel Pietrus fell awkwardly before being carted off on a stretcher. His injury seemed serious at the time after he was spitting up blood on the court and the Celtics could not rebound from what was a gruesome sight.
However, in their last match-up of the season the Celtics got the 76ers number. With Avery Bradley scoring 18 points and Rondo dishing out 15 assists the Celtics cruised to a double-digit home victory.
The series will not be an easy one for either side. However, if the Celtics can stay healthy, they should win this series in seven.