The NBA season is halfway over, and the Celtics still haven’t had anything close to resembling a healthy team.
But that looks to change soon.
Kevin Garnett returned after missing nine games due to a right calf strain and helped the C’s to a 109-106 victory over the Magic on Monday. The win brought their record to 33-9, tops in the East going into tonight’s game against the Pistons.
“We look like a team who is ready, who is energized, who is locked in — and you know that’s the culture he’s brought here since Day 1, he’s been here and it’s infectious,” Paul Pierce said of Garnett after Monday night’s win. “He raises everyone’s play when he’s on the court.”
It was clear the Celtics missed Garnett’s defensive awareness and communication on the court, but it’s still uncertain how much they miss Kendrick Perkins — sidelined since Game 6 of the NBA Finals with a torn ACL.
Perkins recently practiced with the starting unit for the first time, and Doc Rivers was quite pleased with the results.
“It was loud,” Rivers said. “I mean that in a complimentary way. It was the loudest practice we had all year because our two best talkers, Perk and Kevin [Garnett], were on the floor and they were barking out instructions. They were holding everyone accountable.
“Perk practiced [Sunday] like it was the world championships because it was the first time he’s had any action.”
Perkins and Delonte West are set to return in early or mid February.
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