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.
Garnett had a near triple-double, scoring 10 points to go with 9 rebounds and 9 assists.
The points and rebounds, no surprise.
The nine assists?
Where did that come from?
Garnett's passing success had a lot to do with an adjustment by the Celtics in the third quarter.
"[Rajon] Rondo called a great call, which got the ball in Kevin's hands," said coach Doc Rivers. "He was basically, for that one stretch, turned into our passer with everybody cutting . . . He was terrific."
Six of Garnett's nine assists came in the third quarter.
"Some of the play calls permitted me to be a lot more free with some of the decision-making," Garnett said. "I'm a decent decision-maker. I know I can make some plays. I know how to pass the ball. I know my role. I don't come outside of that."
This was an ugly game to watch. The C's had 21 turnovers while Portland had 15. The C's gave up 48 points in the paint.
Yes. 48. Portland only scored 78.
But KG was a beast in that third quarter. Five of his six third quarter assists came in a 2:57 stretch that saw the C's turn a two point lead into a 10 point lead and it included four straight assists in a minute-and-a-half stretch.
Think about this for a minute: With KG dropping nine dimes last night… the C's have now had six different players with at least eight or more assists in a game: Glen Davis with eight on 1/2 in Toronto, Paul Pierce with back-to-back double digit assist nights vs. Atlanta & Indiana, Nate with 10 in November, Ray with eight in November, and obviously Rondo a million times.
That seems like a lot, doesn't it? I can't imagine there are any other teams out there that can say that. Six different guys dropping 8+ dimes? That shows, obviously, that this is an unselfish team. But it also shows that we've got a lot of guys on this team capable of doing a lot of different things… and a lot of guys who are capable of finishing off plays and helping someone else rack up the assists.
Don't be shocked if we add to this list before the end of the season. Delonte West is certainly capable of a double-digit assist night… and who knows if a surprise guy (Shaq kicking it out from the post?) sneaks in a big night too.
On Page 2: Can the C's really get four All Stars?
Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo both finished in third place at their respective positions, while Paul Piercewas fourth among Eastern forwards. Those three should be locks when the league announces the reserves on Feb. 3.
But with Ray Allen also having a deserving season, the Celtics could be in a position to have a fourth All-Star something they haven’t done since 1975 when Dave Cowens, John Havlicek, Paul Silas and Jo Jo White made the team. (They also pulled the trick in 1962 and 1953. They have had three representative a staggering 31 times).
Chuck and I had this same argument on last night's show.
We didn't see anyone that was so good that could bump Ray out. I'll make some of the same argument that I made last night: Doc is pretty much a lock to coach the All Stars. He knows this is probably Ray's last chance at an All Star game… and it would be his 10th.
Doc was a player… he knows what it means to these guys. And while you can make an argument for a Ray Felton, for example, I still think Ray is more deserving. They're even in scoring, Felton has a lot more assists (he is a point guard, after all) but Ray is shooting a lot better (he is one of the best shooters ever, after all). And the C's are much better than the Knicks (who, in case you missed it, are hovering around .500 right now).
So Chuck and I agree… The C's could and should get four All Stars.
The rest of the links
ESPN Boston: Celtics step forward with Perkins | Chat: Forsberg on the C's | Rapid Reaction | Ugly win | WEEI: C's not likely to deal at deadline | Pierce leaves with bruised knee | Defense doesn't rest | Ugly but effective: C's roll Blazers | Herald: More pain, gain for C's | Shaq earns fresh shot | Globe: Toughing it out | Pierce bruises knee | Depth isn't a big issue | Tough talk fires up C's | CSNNE: Rivers finds it hard to take Perkins off the floor | Pierce questionable vs. Suns