|Boston Celtic's Kevin Garnett
The Boston Celtics' season has been one of ups and downs.
The ups have almost exclusively come from Avery Bradley, winning streaks and Doc Rivers. The downs have been constant injury issues.
Right now the Celtics are failing to endure arguably their most significant injury of the whole season. Kevin Garnett has played just 58 minutes of basketball for the Celtics dating back to the 13th of March.
The Celtics have played six games during that time, when Garnett's minutes were split over two games against the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Hornets. A 1-5 record during that spell has come as no real surprise, with the Celtics only beating the Charlotte Bobcats in Boston on the 16th of March. Without Garnett, the Celtics' losses have been by an average of seven points during their recent losing streak.
Garnett has been the Celtics' most important player ever since the team traded Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder. When Perkins left, the Celtics no longer had the size inside the paint to properly defend the rim and consistently outrebound teams. In fact, the Celtics have been one of the worst rebounding teams in the league since they let Perkins go. That trade, coupled with some key injuries, forced Garnett to change position the past two seasons.
Had the Celtics not suffered so many other losses, they likely would have staved off the wave of despair that is engulfing the franchise currently. Losing to the Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks and Miami Heat is nothing to be ashamed of, but losing to the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Hornets with Garnett playing at less than 100 percent is unacceptable for a playoff team. The New York Knicks' 15 point victory over the Celtics last night accented just how far the Celtics have fallen behind with their injuries.
The Knicks scored 29 points to the Celtics six on second shot opportunities, while the game was never really in doubt. That, considering that the Knicks were without Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, speaks volumes to the team's current fragility.
Both Garnett and Courtney Lee missed the game through injury, but they were thrown on top of the season-ending injuries to Jared Sullinger and Rajon Rondo. Jordan Crawford may have arrived to help cover the loss of Leandro Barbosa earlier this year, but while very talented in spurts, Crawford doesn't offer the same stability on offense and accountability on defense that Barbosa had done prior to his injury.
At this point, the Celtics need Garnett if they are to do anything in the playoffs. If he is not at 100 percent, then the chances of them going deep into the post-season are very, very slim.