Intensity can’t be measured statistically; thus, Kevin Garnett’s true value is hard to calculate on a leaguewide scale.
Inside the Celtics’ locker room, though, Garnett has been the driving force behind his team’s brilliant run over the last two-plus seasons, and his teammates couldn’t have been happier to get him back and healthy in the last week.
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“That’s pretty much self-explanatory,” said Shelden Williams, who is in his first go-round as Garnett’s teammate. “You saw how much more intensity and passion we played with, which we were lacking the past few games. He brings that to the game.”
The Celtics are 5-6 without Garnett this season, and they lost four of their last five games with him out of the lineup, including the last three. Garnett was greeted with a loud ovation from the Garden crowd before his return last Friday, and the whole team benefited from that extra energy.
And that’s just a side effect of Garnett’s presence. The intensity and focus in the locker room are always heightened by a few notches when Garnett is in uniform, and that spills over onto the court, particularly on the defensive end.
“Kevin is a great player,” Glen “Uno Uno” Davis said. “He has a lot of energy, and he brings a lot to the team, has a lot of experience and is just a great spirit around the team. I’m glad that he’s back.”
Entering last night’s key road game against the Magic, the Celtics were 24-7 with Garnett in the lineup. They were also allowing 91.8 points per game with him healthy, compared to 98.9 with him on the sidelines.
“We’re definitely playing a lot better with his defensive presence,” Rajon Rondo said. “Just the spirit of him being back, it’s just like a whole other ballgame out there.”