Celtics fans and fantasy owners alike were left cringing, hoping their worst fears were not about to be realized when Kevin Garnett walked off the court gingerly in the middle of the Celtics game against the Pistons on December 29th. Well, I'm sure Charlie Villanueva was pleased.
A clean x-ray gave way to only the slightest bit of solace with the always fearful MRI still to come.
The organization finally breathed a sigh of relief when Garnett's MRI returned negative and the knee that KG has injured three times turned out completely uninvolved. A calf injury would only sideline Garnett a couple weeks.
My glass-half-full attitude led me to expect the worst. Flashbacks of the knee injury of two years earlier overwhelmed me. This is it, no KG, no championship. So goes for Rondo, Pierce, and Allen. Pieces of the puzzle that can simply not afford to be lost. But Garnett? Like the Lakers losing Kobe, the Heat losing LeBron, the Magic losing Howard; the unit can't survive without its heart.
KG's close-call forced me to ponder a couple in particular: Which big men could the Celtics afford to lose while still having championship potential? Similarly, which big men are a must-have for the Celtics to have a shot? Assuming Pierce and Allen stay healthy (fingers crossed), the interior is a necessity for the C's.
Last year's finals loss to the Lakers can be fully accredited to the loss of Kendrick Perkins. Perkins will tell you the same thing but assuming you can't rely on that, here's a fact: The Celtics were out-rebounded 23-8 on the offensive boards in game seven. Watch the fourth quarter and tell me that wasn't the difference in the game. Yes, I am still extremely bitter.