The Boston Celtics should finally get a little help turning their recent misfortunes around as Kevin Garnett is expected to return to the lineup for tonight's game against Oklahoma City, according to Doc Rivers. (Boston Herald)
"We just have to get our guys back," coach Doc Rivers said. "The season is long. Who wants to be a game under .500 going into Oklahoma? Having said that, we'll get Kevin back, which is huge for us with Paul and Ray. After the break Brandon will be back, and then we have to make a run."
Anything will help at this point. The Celtics have scored a total of 154 points in their last two games with Garnett out. To put that into perspective, Portland dropped 137 points last night. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have been pretty much noneffective during this time, which Rivers points out in the Herald piece can be credited to the absences of KG and Brandon Bass.
"When (Garnett and Bass) are out, you have nobody who can stretch the game at (power forward), and then Paul and Ray's games are going to struggle," Rivers said. "They're going to clog the paint and trap everything, and that's what they should do."
"Like we always say, we play everybody, and we have to play a little differently. The difficulty for us is not having Kevin and Brandon. With non-shooters (on the floor) they're trapping Paul and Ray all over the floor. There's not a lot of ways to go."
During the past three games without Garnett, Pierce is 19-of-40 shooting. The impact on Allen has been worse. He is 15-of-39, including 1-of-5 from downtown against the Mavs.
Opponents aren't going to leave the paint to try and defend Chris Wilcox and Jermaine O'Neal on pick-and-pop plays like the would have to do with KG and Bass, nor should they. I cringe every time they put up a shot from over five feet away from the hoop. I just know nothing good could possibly happen from the scenario. So do the opponents, so they double Paul and Ray off every screen and force them to either get rid of the ball to one of the non-shooters that have been littering the floor for the Celtics as of late force up a difficult shot. The result is 154 total points in two games and an 0-2 record in those games.
Garnett's return will obviously help on defense, but he'll also be a welcoming sight on the offensive end. There's nowhere to go but up anyway.
read more: Kevin Garnett expected to return to the Celtics lineup tonight