An NBA blog from Newsday's Bobby Bonett
Kevin Garnett keeps drinking from the Fountain of Youth
At the end of January, it looked like it was time to stick a fork in Kevin Garnett.
The 17-year veteran was averaging just 13.5 points per game -- on pace for the lowest average since his rookie year, when Garnett came off the bench for half the season -- on worse than 50 percent from the floor. The low mark had Garnett tracking toward a scoring average worse than 15 points for the third straight season; and with free agency coming in the offseason, the 14-time All-Star's future in the league looked uncertain.
Fast forward to today, and KG is a force to be reckoned with. In addition to earning a spot on the NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team, Garnett pushed his scoring average to 15.8 points by season's end and boosted his shooting to 50.3 percent. He's also in the midst of a postseason tear, averaging 19.9 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, his best baskebtall since his first year with the Celtics.
On top of all that, Garnett's presence on the court for Boston has been crucial to their postseason run. The Big Ticket has a plus/minus of +168 in the postseason, an average of close to +10 in 18 playoff games. His impact play continued last night: Garnett scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds on a night where Paul Pierce shot just 6-for-19 from the floor, Ray Allen hit just two shots, and Rajon Rondo managed only seven points on 3-for-15 from the floor.
The Celtics won by four, 94-90. Naturally, as ESPN's Tom Haberstroh pointed out on Twitter, Garnett was a +4.
Boston returns home Thursday night looking to send the Big Three packing and advance to the NBA Finals. Like San Antonio in the Western Conference, this could be the Celtics' last stand, with both Garnett and Allen set to become free agents. KG clearly doesn't plan on going quietly.
Garnett also had a big retro dunk in Tuesday night's win that landed him in the No. 3 spot on the NBA's list of top five plays. Mickael Pietrus, Rondo and Dwyane Wade combined to grab the top spot.