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.
"I’m going through some personal problems as of late, but I’m good and I’m back," Garnett said. "And I’m looking at life a little different. I'm beat up and all that, but I'm just giving everything I have — nothing less than that."
[...] "It really has been all year. You look at his numbers and it’s amazing," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "[Critics say] 'Oh, Kevin is this' … it’s all you hear. And no one looks at his numbers. And I’ll tell you where no one really looks is his numbers per minutes played. You know? It’s not like Kevin is playing a ton of minutes, and he’s still putting up numbers. He’s just been a phenomenal guy to coach, I can tell you that, every day.”
KG has been playing great. First of all, I know we all hope whatever personal issues KG is going through are behind him.
Secondly, let's look do what Doc said and look at his minutes. He's playing 30.8 minutes per game this year, down from 31.3 last year, but not his lowest in the Big 3 era. He played 29.9 in 2009-10. His high was 32.8 in his first year with Boston.
His per 36 minute production is up slightly from last year, averaging 17.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3 assists per 36 minutes… that's a slight uptick from the 17.1 points, and 2.8 assists per 36 last year, but a drop of almost a full rebound (10.3) from his per 36 last year.
The most impressive numbers come in the month of February: 17.6 ppg & 9.3 rpg this month… nearly a double-double… all coming in 30.5 minutes per game.
That's a lot of numbers to say KG's stepping up his game. Impressive for an almost 36 year old. Last night, the Celtics offense was at its best when it ran through KG. For a team that desperately needs to right itself on the offensive end, a productive KG might be the most welcome sight yet.
On Page 2: Doc considers pulling Jermaine from the starting lineup
Healthy or not, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said beginning games with this five-man group has been on his mind well before O'Neal got hurt.
"I actually like this lineup," Rivers said. "I was actually thinking about doing it, regardless."
I've been calling for Wilcox to step into the starting line up because I like Bass' scoring on the second unit much better. But Bass is a little better at setting screens and he doesn't get lost as badly on the defense end.
So it comes down to a substitution pattern, and Doc changing what he's been doing. Instead of playing Rondo, and often Pierce, the full first quarter, Doc has been pulling those guys a little earlier. When you sub KG and Ray out after 5 or 6 minutes, they can come back in when Pierce and Rondo come out, allowing more starters to be on the floor with the 2nd unit.
That second unit has been abysmal most of this year, but they stepped up last night. Adding Jermaine O'Neal to it will at least give them a better defensive presence, and maybe let them get a few extra stops so they can get out in transition. Plus, it'll maybe limit his minutes a little more so he can be more productive.
Related links: Herald: Sore Jermaine can't play
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Celtics continue to struggle with turnovers | Celtics-Bucks: What we saw | WEEI: Rondo: "I'm at my best when I'm in transition" | Herald: Rajon Rondo play points way | Celtics put it together | Rookies stay prepared | Globe: Report: Rondo back on block | Second effort sealed deal | Return of Bass adds offensive dimension