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Tuesday, January 18, 2011
KG is back and all is right in my sports world (minus the Patriots obviously)
For the last week when it looked like Kevin Garnett was returning to the Boston Celtics' lineup when they hosted the Orlando Magic on Martin Luther King day, I was conflicted.
I was excited because I had tickets to the game but I was genuinely worried because KG's health seems so fragile these days and the team that is a bonafide title contender with him, becomes an Eastern Conference also-ran without him.
It's only one night but it looked like the same old KG as he totaled 19 points and eight rebounds in a regular season instant classic, a 109-106 Celtics win.
These two teams have built a nice rivalry over the last few seasons with two straight playoff meetings and back-to-back contests on Christmas.
It's an intriguing matchup, Dwight Howard (33 points, 13 rebounds) and the Magic (26-15) with their array of shooters vs. the teammwork of the Celts (31-9) and balanced scoring.
Like they have so many times over the last four seasons, the Cs made the plays down the stretch. Most notably a three-point play by Paul Pierce (14 points) and a steal by KG as the clock ran out.
Ray Allen notched 26 points, Rajon Rondo added 10 points and 13 assists while Shaquille O'Neal had 12 points. Coming off the bench, Glen Davis like always found his game with 15 points.
Jason Richardson had 14 points, Brandon Bass notched 13 points, Hedo Turkoglu put up 11 points and seven assists while Ryan Anderson put up 16 points off the bench.
When you add this win to the Bruins' earlier rampage, yesterday was exactly what New England sports fans needed to get over the Patriots. In the Celtics and Bruins (yes, I said it before lightning strikes me), we have two teams that can go deep in the postseason this spring. Add in Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon sitting courtside and chugging a beer when he was shown on the jumbotron and it was a good day to be a fan of the other three teams.
Boston was up 27-22 after the first quarter and 55-54 at halftime. Orlando tied it up after three quarters at 81 and the fourth was when the Celts did just enough (28-25) to send Ray Allen's mom home happy.
As a team, Boston shot a lights out 60.0% to Orlando's 45.9%. As expected, the Magic owned 3-pointers (10-3) and also made five more free throws (27-22). Orlando had four more rebounds (34-30) but the Celts had six more assists (25-19), seven more steals (10-3) and four more blocks (6-2). Boston had eight more fast break points (12-4) and most amazingly, double the amount of points in the paint (52-26).
The Celtics host the Detroit Pistons tomorrow night. Detroit has won three in a row and they also beat Boston the last time the teams met (on Dec. 29 in Motown when KG injured his calf).