Keven Garnett made his much anticipated return after sitting out the last nine games due to injury and sparked the Celtics to a 109-106 win over the rival Orlando Magic grabbing a key steal with seconds remaining to help seal the game for the Celtics. The win ended the Magic’s three game winning streak at the TD BankNorth Garden.
KG had 19 points and 8 rebounds in his return to action, Ray Allen led the way for the Celtics with 26 points, and Dwight Howard was unstoppable as usual leading all scorers with 33 points and 13 rebounds.
There is no mistaking the importance KG has to the lineup, the C’s get a legit rebounder and can have Glenn Davis slide back into the 6th man spot, a role more suited for his abilities. The return also adds to the depth of the front court rotation. Shaq has been huge in spots, but has also disappeared in big spots as well. Having KG back will allow Doc to better use Shaq situationally creating one of the more dynamic front courts in all of basketball.
According to ESPN’s Stats and Information Dept: “Kevin Garnett’s importance to the Celtics defense cannot be understated. With Garnett, Boston is allowing four points less per game, forcing teams to shoot a worse percentage, and giving up nearly four fewer 2nd-chance points per game. His impact also profoundly impacts the glass where his presence accounts for more than an eight rebound swing per game.”
The Celtics have an off day today before hosting the Utah Jazz tomorrow night at the Garden.