Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The Knicks are led by Amare Stoudemire, who has scored at least 30 points in the past eight games.
Though Stoudemire is starting at center in Mike D’Antoni’s small-ball lineup, the All-Stars certainly will cross paths tonight. And Garnett undoubtedly will welcome the opportunity to square off against an opponent generating MVP buzz.
“I think he gets up for him anyways,” C’s coach Doc Rivers said. “They get up for each other. And the fact that they’re playing well and they’re in our division and all that stuff, I’m sure Kevin will have a lot of reading material for the next two days. So it will be good for him.”
Amar'e isn't the only player that is responsible for this turnaround for New York… but he's obviously THE main reason. Like I said a couple of days ago… this is a challenge for Kevin Garnett. Stoudemire has scored at least 30 in each of the Knicks 8 consecutive wins. Something's gotta give.
And even though KG might not have to guard Amar'e the entire night… the defensive effort is something he takes personally. Shut down Amar'e, and you shut down the Knicks.
New York is the top scoring team in the league. The Celtics have the best defense in the league.
If only one of those things was known to win championships… we might a clearer idea of what might happen tonight.
On page 2: C's makes moves in the Awards Watch
MVP: #10 Rajon Rondo: He might not average as many points as other elite guards, but is anyone better at making the game easier for others? It is hard to argue against Rondo.
DPOY #1 Kevin Garnett: There were times last season that a return to this spot seemed impossible. Healthy again, Garnett leads the league this season in defensive rating (92.6) and he's super active again on defense, as evidenced by a 31.3 percent defensive rebounding rate, which, if maintained, would be the highest of his career (and he led the league four times from 2004 through 2007).
DPOY #5 Glen Davis: Twenty-seven charges drawn in 23 games?! How is this not a bigger story? Davis is too undersized to be an elite shot-blocker or rebounder, but the way he is using his body this season has been amazing. Go ahead, complain about a Boston bias (just be happy Kendrick Perkins is sidelined following offseason ACL surgery, or he'd probably be on this list as well).
The Boston bias would come from Chris Forsberg… who penned the Defensive Player of the Year section of the Awards Watch. Hard to argue the reasoning, though. KG's and Baby's numbers support the claims. Garnett is the best defensive player on the best defensive team. And Glen Davis is sometimes drawing a couple of charges per game. Each charge isn't just a foul, its a turnover.
It's too bad Rondo's been in and out of the lineup lately… he might have made the list too. As it is, I like him being mentioned for MVP consideration. The C's are clearly a different team without him. The only knock against him is the same knock that's been against him for the past few years…. with all this talent around him, the C's have managed to overcome his injury. So yes.. he makes his team better… but they're already pretty good anyway.
It's a great debate… but I still say Rondo deserves to be in that MVP discussion.
The rest of the links:
Herald: Knicks rivalry? Please, let the Celtics in on it | Globe: Ryan: Another link in the chain | Knicks thumbnails | CSNNE: C's-Knicks rivalry bonanza | Shaq's "calf juice" is good | At last, Celtics Knicks means something | ESPN Boston: When it was a rivalry | Streaks don't matter in June | WEEI: Betting on the Celtics | MWDN: Celtics-Knicks a rivalry again?