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.
Two weeks shy of his 37th birthday, Kevin Garnett finds himself in the midst of maybe the most impressive rebounding stretch of his entire 18-year NBA career.
Try these numbers on for size: Not only does the Celtics big man lead the playoffs in rebounding (14.4 per game, nearly three better than closest competitor Reggie Evans), but Garnett is hauling in a staggering 40.3 percent of all available defensive rebounds when he’s on the floor (also tops amongst qualifiers).
[…] Before this season, Garnett had grabbed 17-plus rebounds 14 times in his playoff career. Now he’s done it three times in a row. He’ll have to bounce back quickly, with only one day off before Game 6 on Friday, but you get the sense Garnett is feeding off this situation. As usual with these Celtics, with their backs against the wall, they’ve come out swinging. And rebounding.
We shouldn’t be SO shocked that Kevin Garnett has upped his rebounding. Last year, he entered the playoffs averaging 8.2 rebounds per game but then averaged 10.3 in the playoffs. He became a double-double machine, dropping 13 of them (including 9 20/10 games). He went into the playoffs with 21 double-doubles (in a 60 game season)… then he whipped off 13 in 20 games.
So Garnett ups his game for the playoffs.
But last year, his rebounding rate only went up about 1% overall and 2% on the defensive end.
THIS year, he entered the playoffs with almost the exact same advanced rebounding numbers…. but has increased his overall rebounding rate by 10%, and his defensive rebounding rate by 16%.
In other words, Kevin Garnett has made it his own personal mission to grab every freakin’ rebound out there… and he’s kinda doing it.
Of course, he couldn’t do that without help. It takes a lot of misses to generate that level of rebounding opportunity… and Carmelo Anthony is providing it. He’s missed 83 shots over the 5 games in this series so far (he’s made 54). Melo’s also 18 of 54 over the last two games.
Limiting the Knicks second chances is IMPERATIVE if the Celtics have any hope of pulling off this miracle comeback. They have to continue to force the Knicks out of their offense to get the ball into Carmelo Anthony’s hand’s with about 6 seconds left on shot clock. I can live with contested iso plays the rest of the way, especially since Kevin Garnett is out there Hoover-ing every miss for the Celtics.
If the Celtics can step up the pace at home after those misses and starting turning them into some fast break points, we’re going to hear that “Let’s Go Celtics!” chant again as the Garden sends its boys off for a Game 7 in New York.
The rest of the links
ESPN Boston: View from NY: Buried alive? | Anthony’s wife rips Crawford on Twitter | The history the Celtics are fighting to change | Herald: Terrence Williams delivers on point in Game 5 | Crawford on tiff: Don’t look at me | Jason Terry not ready for burial yet | Globe: Bad blood between Celtics, Knicks boiling heading into Game 6 showdown | Woodson “upset” over all-black attire | Celtics drawing comparisons to Sox | Knicks still claim confidence | CSNNE: What’s the bigger threat to C’s: Knicks or fatigue? | CelticsTalk TV: Can C’s pull off the upset | Ainge: C’s face very hard decision about Pierce | MWDN: Celtics getting closer to historic comeback