HH Tournament: (4) Kevin Garnett vs (5) Dave Cowens


Kevin Garnett and Dave Cowens is the next matchup of the Hardwood Houdini Tournament

Larry Bird advances to the Elite Eight with an easy win over Tom Sanders in the second round. Both top seeds advanced to the Elite Eight. Kevin Garnett and Dave Cowens is the next matchup of Round Two, the winner advancing to the Elite Eight.

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 any 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, 5x NBA All-Star

Kevin Garnett brought a lot to the Celtics during his six seasons in Boston. He was one of the most dominating big men on the court, being named an All-Star five times in six seasons. Garnett’s all-around arsenal led him to average 15.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals and one block per game with the Celtics. Even in his early 30s, already spending 12 seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Garnett was still just as effective in his smaller role.

In spite of Garnett’s all-around game that was an integral piece to the Celtics 2008 championship season and 2010 championship run, Celtics fans will remember Garnett’s intensity and veteran leadership the most.

Garnett showed his intensity, matched by few players in NBA history, after the Celtics won the title in 2008 and Garnett famously screamed, “Anything is possible!” Also, his leadership and team-first mentality was on display when he accepted a smaller role with the Celtics alongside other Hall of Fame players so he had a better chance to win a title.

During his last nine seasons in Minnesota, Garnett averaged a double-double with at least 21 points per game. Also, he came to Boston leading the league in rebounds per game four consecutive seasons. Not every player wants to give up personal statistics to be on a winning team, but Garnett knew winning a title was going to take more than just him, and that winning was bigger than any individual stat he could put up.

Garnett never averaged a double-double and 18.8 points per game in his first season with Boston was his highest scoring season. He still provided great all-around play, but wasn’t relied on as much on offense and on the glass.

He’s still regarded as the most intense player in NBA history, playing with a fire that hasn’t been matched by anyone in the league. That fire and his leadership and acceptance of a smaller role in Boston helped everyone buy into what the Celtics were trying to do. It was still Paul Pierce‘s team, but Garnett was just as big of a leader.

Dave Cowens – 1991 Hall of Fame Inductee

18.2 PPG, 14 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 1.0 BPG

10 Seasons with Boston, 2x Champion, 8x All-Star, 1x MVP, Rookie of the Year, #18 Retired by Celtics

The Celtics have had many dominating rebounders in their history, however few have matched the production that Dave Cowens gave the Celtics for 10 seasons. He was unable to match the godly numbers Bill Russell put up, but Cowens was still one of the best rebounders of the 1970s, powering the Celtics to two championships.

Cowens production on the glass started right away, averaging 15 rebounds per game as a rookie. He didn’t slow down, either. Cowens rebounding production continued to rise in each of his first three seasons and he averaged at least 13 rebounds per game in each of his first eight seasons in the NBA. Cowens was also a reliable scorer, averaging at least 19 points per game four consecutive seasons, but his rebounding separated him from other big men.

His best rebounding season came in 1972-73, his third season in the league. Over 82 games, Cowens pulled down 16.2 rebounds per game and an astounding 1,329 total rebounds. His remarkable season came in the midst of a six season stretch to start his career in which he grabbed at least 15 rebounds per game in five of the six seasons.

Cowens production was even more daunting to opponents in the postseason. He led the playoffs in rebounds per game twice, and averaged at least 16 per night three times. Over six postseason runs with Boston, Cowens grabbed an amazing 14.4 rebounds per game.

Dave Cowens still ranks third in total rebounds, fourth in defensive rebounds, fifth in offensive rebounds and second to only Bill Russell in rebounds per game in franchise history.

Bill Russell and Robert Parish are the two centers you think of when reminiscing on great rebounders in Celtics’ history. At 6-9 Cowens was able to defy odds and became a dominating rebounding center. He was a great all-around player, but he left the biggest footprint through his work on the glass.

Don’t forget to vote on Twitter @HoudiniCeltics! The poll is up for 20 hours. Comments on here don’t count as votes, only the poll on Twitter will be looked at to determine who goes on to the Elite Eight.

Next: Boston Celtics: Three Must See Home Games

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