Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No. -- er rather -- No 18

Bad news out of Waltham this afternoon: Kevin Garnett is being "shut down" for the rest of the regular season.

While shutting down Manny became an integral, and annual, part of the Red Sox stretch drive, it's a different story in basketball. Teams should be peaking at this time of year, as the Spurs have made into an art form (e.g., in 2006-7, they started 24-11, but closed 16-3 before losing their last three (meaningless) games, and won the NBA Championship.)

The Celts were blessed with a relatively injury-free 2007-08, and the Big Three (Paul Pierce (then 30), Garnett (31), Ray Allen (32)) played 80, 71, and 73 games, respectively. And each logged close to 1,000 minutes in the playoffs.

But at those ages -- ancient in NBA-years -- and load-levels, injuries are part of the game. While Pierce and Allen have played 75 and 74 games respectively, Garnett will have missed a quarter of season; he has also been playing limited minutes for the past few weeks, so his 'game' totals are somewhat inflated.

And that assumes he returns full strength when the Playoffs start.

The Cs got by the Cavaliers last year thanks to hot-shooting and home (court) cooking. This year, the road to the NBA Finals goes through the Quicken Loan Arena.

It's beginning to feel like 1964 all over again.

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