In a game where defense is optional and no one’s going to do something silly like take a charge, a final score of 143-138 doesn’t seem all that outlandish.
Kevin Durrant led all scorers with 30 points, Blake Griffin scored 19 and Chris Paul earned MVP honors with a 20 point, 15 dimes performance as the West Squad defeated the East in an entertaining game filled with dunks, sick lobs and more dunks…
…but to Boston Celtics’ fans, the best numbers of the night were the 6:26 of game time recorded by Kevin Garnett.
Why? Well, with All Star games being pretty much beauty contests full of glitz, glitter, oddly clashing neon sneaks and rainbow socks and really very little substance at all, Garnett started for the East then shut it down for the rest of the evening, ensuring that KG will be ready and rested for Tuesday’s rematch with the freakishly athletic and aggressive Nuggets in Denver.
In essense, it was no harm, no foul for the snakebitten Celtics who can afford neither another injury nor a tired KG.
Because it’s an exhibition game – and Garnett is not at all about the amenities. He’s saving what he’s got for a Boston Celtics’ team that he seems excited to be coming back to.
“I like our team. I like us a lot, actually,” said Garnett.
So it’s go time. More than half of the season is gone and the dog days of winter are upon us, a time when the winners separate themselves from the losers. You make the tournament, you’ve got a shot – anything is possible.
But you’ve got to make the tournament to have your shot and at 28-24 the resilient Celtics are currently the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference by a game and a half over Milwaukee and 5 1/2 games over Philadelphia – which, if you factor in losing three players to season ending injuries and being streakier than Ray Stevens, is quite an accomplishment in itself.
With no word coming out of Celtics camp on any moves to bolster the lineup, one can only assume that something is brewing to bring in some beef underneath and perhaps some guard help, but Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge are being careful with this process because the chemistry of this team is too strong to just arbitrarily throw in a warm body.
The fight and grit and determination of this team will be put to the test in the next week and a half as they embark on a five game roadie starting with Denver and their up tempo run and gun and finishing up with the big and physical Jazz…
…and the Ides of March will be upon us before we see the green back in TD Garden, and by then we’ll have a pretty good idea of what kind of team the Celtics have for the stretch run.
Hopefully Garnett still likes them a lot when that time comes.