Kevin Garnett's Offense Biggest Key for Injury-Plagued Celtics Moving Forward

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IFebruary 12, 2013

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 11:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on February 11, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics are in the midst of an unforeseen midseason resurgence, in large due to Kevin Garnett's newfound offensive potency. 

Garnett, 36, is averaging well over 17 points and 10 rebounds per over Boston's last eight games, seven of which have been Celtics wins. Therefore, Garnett's offensive production is the biggest key for the Celtics continuing such success moving forward this season, as they look to secure a top seed in the Eastern Conference and make yet another deep playoff run.

Garnett's season averages this season are nothing to drool over, at just 15.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. But since star point guard Rajon Rondo was lost for the year to an ACL, the 18-year veteran has stepped his game up considerably on the offensive end, where the Celtics are in most need of help in Rondo's absence.

Doc Rivers' unit can defend with the NBA's best, but getting big buckets in big moments will always be the biggest challenge for these Celtics in the post-Ray Allen Era and with Rondo in dress clothes.

In addition to holding the distinction of being the NBA's leading assist man, Boston lost nearly 14 points per game when Rondo went down, which did not bode well for one of the league's worst-scoring teams.

But, over the Celtics' last eight games, they are averaging 103.3 points per game, up seven points from their current season average (96.3 PPG). Over the 7-1 stretch, Boston is also defending better, rising up the rankings on that side of the floor as well. 

The man in the middle of it all, Garnett is shooting 50 percent from the field, nailing 86 percent of his free throws and playing active and focused defense. 

But, if the Celtics hope to continue playing at elite level in spite of ACL injuries to Rondo and reserve guard Leandro Barbosa (season-ending), Garnett's offense has to take center stage. He's certainly capable of posting 17 points per night and he must do just that, with Boston is down nearly 19 points per game with both Rondo and Barbosa out.

It's not enough for Paul Pierce to pour in 18 or 19 points per game. The Celtics need their seasoned power forward on the offensive side of the floor more than ever before. 

So far, all indications are that he'll deliver.


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