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 saved his best for the final quarter as Washington reduced the Celtics’ lead to 80-73 with 7:49 left on consecutive baskets by Trevor Booker. Garnett responded with 7 of the Celtics’ next 11 points, including a clinching conventional three-point play for a 91-77 lead with 4:14 left.
The days of Garnett as a dominant low-post scorer and volume rebounder may have dissipated, but he proved last night he’s capable of the occasional vintage performance.
“[Celtics coach] Doc [Rivers] always tells me to stay aggressive and tonight I did that,’’ said Garnett, who eclipsed the 20-point mark 18 times last season. “I was able to get into a good rhythm and hit some shots. My role on the team is to be the glue defensively. We will see this team again in 24 hours and we will have to play with the same intensity.’’
It was a weekend of resurgence for the Celtics aging front court. Jermaine O’Neal on Friday and Kevin Garnett on Sunday. What is Eddie Lacerte slipping into their Gatorade?
24 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists is a helluva night for 28 minutes of action. I was worried about Garnett coming into this game because of Washington’s athletic bigs. While Javale McGee and Andray Blatche don’t have the highest basketball IQ, they can run and jump with anyone.
But KG proved me wrong and I hope he continues to do so. Let’s start with tonight, where it’s highly unlikely we’ll see similar productivity as the Celtics play back-to-back.
On Page 2, Rondo deserves a lot of credit for last night’s victory.
The Celtics needed something to reverse the momentum. They needed Rajon Rondo, the one player on the roster who can match that youth and athleticism that other teams have in abundance.
Desperately needing a basket, Rondo went into the post and quickly scored on John Wall. He took Andray Blatche off the dribble and neatly threaded home a layup over his 6-foot-10 defender. That restored order, but the Wizards weren’t done and they cut the lead to nine, 58-49. After a timeout, Rondo answered again with a jumper and then found Garnett for a dunk.
The Wizards had one more run left in them in the fourth quarter and took the lead down to seven against the Celtics’ reserves. Rondo came back in and began working a two-man game with Garnett that was unstoppable. He finished with a gaudy triple double – 18 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds, but it was the moments that Rondo chose to assert himself that really stood out. On three different occasions, the Celtics needed Rondo to carry them and he did it each and every time.
That’s the definition of leadership. Recognize what the team needs and deliver it. It’s performances like this one that show me that Rondo maturing and taking control of this team. Some people (John) were quick to call Rondo a mature leader because of how he handled the media. I’ll take actions over words any day.
The rest of the links: