KG’s knee changes everything

By: 04.17.09  •  49 Comments

Kevin Garnett

Not exactly worth getting up at 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday before (if you’re on the West Coast), this Celtics/Bulls series just got a whole lot more interesting. After Chicago sloughed their way through a loss to the Raptors and gave up the 6th seed Wednesday night, nobody would have picked the Bulls to make much of a dent against a healthy, focused Celtics team that’s feeling disrespected with everybody penciling the Cavs into the Finals. But then Thursday morning came around, and with it, the news that Kevin Garnett (knee) could be out for the duration of the playoffs. While some of us saw this coming weeks ago, there is still a slight chance they’re playing up the injury for more than it’s worth. But — and this is going to sound awful — the fact that Danny Ainge had a minor heart attack yesterday (he’s reportedly OK and recovering at a hospital) lends even more credibility to the idea that KG is in really bad shape … So without KG, how does this series play out? Tyrus Thomas is the biggest benefactor, and he’s already been playing consistently well since the All-Star break. Derrick Rose also becomes much more dangerous without Garnett guarding the rim, but is that enough for the Bulls to make the defending champs sweat a little bit? On this afternoon we’ll argue that, as well as the rest of the playoffs, in our NBA Playoff Blogger Face-Off. Some of our favorite team bloggers will go head-to-head to debate why their team will win its first-round matchup … Tomorrow’s TV schedule tips off with Celtics/Bulls (12:30 p.m. EST), followed by Cavs/Pistons (3 p.m. EST), Spurs/Mavs (8 p.m. EST) and Blazers/Rockets (10:30 p.m. EST), with each game on ESPN or ABC. On Sunday, the other first-round series open: Lakers/Jazz, Magic/Sixers, Hawks/Heat and Nuggets/Hornets … And while we wait for the postseason, it’s time to hand out the regular-season hardware. You can probably guess who copped Dime’s Rookie of the Year. Jason Terry is the Sixth Man of the Year, and “Senor Buckets” took Most Improved Player. You can also see which Hall of Fame lock earned a spot on our Least Improved Team … The latest NBA Draft early entrants include Syracuse PG Jonny Flynn, St. Mary’s PG Patty Mills, Texas G/F Damion James, Kentucky PF Patrick Patterson, Memphis PF/C Shawn Taggart, Notre Dame PF Luke “Lenny” Harangody, and Xavier F Derrick Brown. Flynn is the only one who’s signing with an agent right now, but you should expect James, Mills and probably Patterson to eventually do the same … Meanwhile, a few guys announced they’re staying in school: Oklahoma PG Willie Warren (showing he can produce without relying on Blake Griffin), Kansas PG Sherron Collins (needs to play more under control), Kansas C Cole Aldrich (should have gone; his stock is high in a weak class of centers), Georgetown PF/C Greg Monroe (not quite ready yet), and Wake Forest SF/PF Al-Farouq Aminu (still raw). Not saying anything about this group, but it’s always funny when dudes who have no business thinking about going pro hold a press conference to tell everyone the obvious. Remember Oregon making a big deal about Malik Hairston‘s annual “I’m coming back” announcement? … All the downtime between playoff games for the next couple weeks means we’re destined to get a lot of classic games on NBA TV between the teams currently playing each other. For example, there’s a 100% chance they show Mike‘s 63-point game at Boston Garden. We’re also looking out for that Spurs/Mavs overtime Game 7 from ’06 (Dirk‘s 37-15 vs. Duncan‘s 41-16), the Kobe Airball game from ’97, LeBron‘s 48-point game against the Pistons, and there’s gotta be some old Drexler vs. Hakeem games from the early-’90s that we can’t think of right now … We’re out like Flynn …

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