Kevin Garnett has never been one to mince words, and the Celtics as as group have only made it this far (into the fifth year of a three-year plan as the most dangerous sleeper in the East) because they just don’t care what anyone else thinks. They have a lot of pride and always will, the edginess stemming from the 37 combined All-Star Games their top four players have played in. After a somewhat disastrous start to the year, historical-level defense and the rise of Avery Bradley pushed them into the No. 4 seed in the East where they’ll begin what’ll probably be their final run together in Atlanta.
So are they satisfied? KG is giving an emphatic “NO.”
“We’re a very, very motivated group,” Garnett told WEEI.com. “Individually, we have a lot of pride. Together, we play hard as sh*t. Like I said, we’re a very prideful team. Like I always said, man, when you come in here and put that jersey on, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that, and we don’t take that lightly in here.”
Since the All-Star Break, Boston is 24-10, third in the league in that span behind Chicago (their likely second round matchup… yes, I don’t think Atlanta has a chance to beat them) and San Antonio. Garnett is playing in the five spot even though he says he hates it there, and Rajon Rondo is on a roll. He’s had 24 straight games with double-digit assists.
The difference maker might be Ray Allen, who hasn’t played since April 10 in Miami because of an ankle problem stemming partly from his massive calves. The Celtics are saying he’s probable to play this weekend, but no one knows what he’ll be able to give them. If he can’t keep up, that leaves Boston with five (and maybe six if you count Mickael Pietrus who’s coming off his own knee injury) players they can truly trust in a tight game.
Can Boston survive if Ray Allen isn’t close to 100 percent?
Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.