Garnett Elbow Adds Drama to Dull Game, Series
Tuesday night, the Boston Celtics will to have face the Miami Heat without Kevin Garnett. After he introduced his elbow to Quentin Richardson’s face, Garnett was slapped with a one-game suspension. Richardson was given a $25,000 fine for his part in what was an odd scrum after Paul Pierce fell to the ground.
The Celtics played 13 regular season games without KG this year and went just 6-7. He was their best player in Saturday’s 85-76 win over Miami and if you were to start the discussion, “Who needs to step up for the Celtics to advance in the playoffs?” the most popular answer would be Kevin Garnett.
This latest incident with Garnett made Yahoo! wonder why people don’t like him anymore and somehow even got Jaokim Noah talking…again. As you can imagine, Richardson also had something to say with a sore jaw. As a fan, it's hard to take the Garnett bashing, but I can understand it. Seems like many dislike the Ultimate Warrior rage and hype before every tip-off. Some fans even take exception to elbows and trash talk. I can agree with all that.
For years, Garnett was one of the most feared defenders in the NBA. Now, he is running on one good knee and relying on his energy level for an advantage over opponents. Despite making the occasional teammate cry, he still makes people around him better. He has taken Rajon Rondo under his wing and manages to create enough concern for the opposition that Paul Pierce and Ray Allen still get open looks.
Above all, he is part of two of my favorite commercials.
Back to the playoffs. This fracas between the Celtics and Heat may elevate this series to a higher level. It was set up to be kind of slow and boring until Garnett decided to up the ratings of these next games.
Being at home will of course help Boston, though they were not a good home team all season. Whether it is Glen Davis or Rasheed Wallace who steps in for KG, the crowd will be behind every move they make on the floor. Game 3 will be a different story when Garnett returns to what I hope will be a hostile Miami crowd.
I usually don’t let drama skew my vision of the game, but I am genuinely excited that this series has an added wrinkle. Consider Wade’s ability to take over a game, Rondo growing as a player, and Paul Pierce’s ability to get all Paul Pierce in the playoffs, and we have the makings of a good series.
Which is nice, because the winner earns the right to get steam-rolled by the Cavs.