HH Tournament: (4) Kevin Garnett vs (13) Paul Silas


Boston Celtics alumni, Kevin Garnett and Paul Silas are the next matchup in the Hardwood Houdini Tournament

The votes were close early on in yesterday’s old-time showdown between Bill Sharman and Tom Sanders. Despite both having their Celtics number retired and hanging in the rafters, Sanders was able to gain the edge, beating out Sharman. Sanders will now take on Larry Bird in the second round of the tournament.

Don’t forget that this is based solely off their playing careers with the Boston Celtics. Any coaching or front office experience shouldn’t be taken into account, neither should their collegiate careers or their tenure with other NBA teams they may have played for.

Kevin Garnett – 2008 NBA Champion

15.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 1.0 BPG

6 Seasons with Boston, 1x NBA Champion, 15x NBA All-Star, 1x MVP, 1x Defensive Player Of The Year

Kevin Garnett’s basketball career has been a wild ride, even from the beginning when he was drafted out of Farragut Career Acadamy, Chicago. Garnett was taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the fifth pick in the 1995 NBA Draft, throwing this ambitious high school kid into the professional ranks.

In case mentioning his close ties with Chicago didn’t give you any indication, Garnett is a true competitor. The 6-11 power forward, nicknamed ‘The Big Ticket’, saw his basketball ability ascend dramatically for the Wolves. So much so, that Garnett participated in his first All-Star game in just his second season in the NBA. From there he became the face of the franchise, continuing to climb the ranks to eventually be considered one of the best players in the world. In fact, Garnett was able to accomplish this in 2004, after being crowned the NBA’s MVP.

In the offseason of 2007, Danny Ainge remained optimistic about boosting the Celtics’ roster. After instilling his trademark wizardry and swaying a reluctant Timberwolves front office, Kevin Garnett would finally have ‘Boston’ printed across his chest.

At the time, 30-year-old Garnett was expected to slightly drop-off in production. The combination of his career entering the latter end of his prime and playing alongside the offensive stars Paul Pierce and Ray Allen made his future somewhat unpredictable – but exciting, nonetheless.

The trio gelled immediately, as Garnett helped the Celtics get off to a 26-3 start in the 2007-08 season. Going on to battle in tough playoff series, hit clutch shots and clobber his head against the basket stanchion before every game, Boston fell in love with Garnett.

It didn’t stop there, though.

Garnett went on to capture his first (and only) NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics versus rivals, Los Angeles Lakers in the 2008 Finals. It could have been Pierce’s ‘wheelchair’ game, or Ray Allen’s three-point barrage in Game Three that stuck in our mind at the conclusion of the series, but instead, Garnett was the one that gave us a moment to remember.

In the post-Game Six interview with ESPN after winning his first NBA championship, an emotional Kevin Garnett tilts his head back and screams to the heavens, “anything is possible!”

He won. He won for Boston, and Boston had won him.

While Garnett’s number may one day be retired in Minnesota for all he had done for the franchise, Garnett will never be forgotten in Boston. It’s probably true that, while his heart is in Minnesota, he still bleeds green.

Paul Silas – 2x NBA Champion with Boston

11.5 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 2.1 APG

4 Seasons with Boston, 2x NBA All-Star, 3x NBA Champion, 5x NBA All-Defensive Teams

Paul Silas’ time with the Celtics was not as prolonged as other Boston legends, spending just four seasons of his 16 year career with the green and white. Silas was drafted out of Creighton in 1964 by the St. Louis Hawks and quickly found his identity as a rugged forward in the league.

At 6-7, Silas was never extremely athletic. Instead, he was able to make a name for himself with his rebounding, willing hustle and gritty defense. Silas averaged 12.3 rebounds per game in his four years in Boston, making a statement on the boards every game. While his steal rate wasn’t exactly the most impressive, (0.6 steals per game) he was fortunate enough to be selected in the NBA All-Defensive First Team on two occasions and the NBA All-Defensive Second Team on three occasions.

The Boston Celtics’ addition of Silas in 1972 was an attempt to bring the team back to its championship level form. It worked too – in Silas’ first three seasons with the Celtics, Boston did not lose more than two consecutive games during that time. Their dominance didn’t come without reward, though. Silas was a pivotal part in helping Boston win the 1974 NBA Championship.

Despite failing to defeat the Washington Bullets in the 1975 Eastern Conference Finals, Silas still had a big year for the Celtics. He earned his second career selection in the NBA All-Star Game and was named in the NBA All-Defensive First Team that year.

Not only was Silas as tough as nails on the court, but he was the ‘Iron Man’ of the 1970’s. In Silas’ four years with the Celtics, he never played under 80 regular season games, as well as averaging 32.4 minutes per game in that time.

Before Silas’ time with Boston was over, he went on to help the Celtics capture another title in the 1975-76 season, which would be his last.

 Don’t forget to vote on Twitter @HoudiniCeltics! The poll is up for 24 hours. Comments on here don’t count as votes, only the poll on Twitter will be considered for who goes on to round two.

Next: What's Considered a Successful Season for the Celtics?

Also, check out tomorrow’s match-up to see the results from today’s showdown.