Why Kevin Garnett's Slow Start vs. Miami Heat Should Worry Celtics

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIOctober 31, 2012

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 30: Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on October 30, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The 2011-12 NBA postseason ended on a sour note for the Boston Celtics, as they dropped Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to their arch rival Miami Heat. As the 2012-13 regular season commences, the Celtics have picked up where they left off.

Dropping a high-scoring affair to the Heat.

Boston lost a 120-107 battle which saw the Heat's Big Four combine for 93 points. The game also saw 18-year veteran Kevin Garnett play one of the worst games of his illustrious career, scoring just nine points and committing five turnovers and four personal fouls.

The question is, should KG's shortcomings be of concern to the Celtics? Despite the popular belief that one game is meaningless, it should.

That is, if the Celtics have any plans of making the NBA Finals come June, 2013.


East is Rising

As the 2012-13 NBA regular season commences, it has become perfectly clear how deep each conference has become. Specifically in the East, there are approximately six teams who could compete for a Top 3 seed.

Those teams include the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. For every fan who claims one of those teams cannot reach said level, who expected the Pacers to finish in the Top 3 during the 2011-12 season?

With this being known, the Boston Celtics need a fast start. KG playing at full strength is one of the best ways to assure that transpires. 

Undersized Yet Overcome?

The Miami Heat are a phenomenal basketball team whose versatility is both remarkable and overwhelming. What the team lacks, however, is even the slightest resemblance of a center that can make an impact in the paint.

Even still, Kevin Garnett failed to perform at an adequate level.

KG finished the evening with nine points and 12 rebounds on 4-of-8 shooting from the floor. The numbers that truly stand out, however, are the five turnovers and four personal fouls that limited his efficiency.

If KG is unable to perform against an undersized frontcourt, how can we expect him to overcome elite divisional foes such as Andrew Bynum or Tyson Chandler? Although Garnett is likely to prove that he is still an elite player, there are reasons to believe he could struggle at times this season.

For instance, his age.


Another Year Older

During the first five games of the Eastern Conference Finals, Garnett averaged 21.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.  During Games 6 and 7, however, KG averaged just 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 0.5 blocks per contest.

Is it possible that the 36-year-old ran out of gas? For as fierce a competitor as Garnett is, that is a plausible reality.

As KG enters his 18th year in the league, there is a chance that he is no longer capable of handling a full 82-game grind plus the postseason that follows. As a result, the Celtics should consider a more cautious approach to his regular-season schedule.

The question is, could coach Doc Rivers actually convince KG to spend games on the sideline due to a need for rest? If anyone can, it's Rivers.

I'm just not sure that anyone can.