The Boston Celtics wrapped up a berth in the NBA Playoffs just a few days ago and now are trying to round into shape for the postseason. They obviously want to make sure that they keep playing elite defense and shore up some of the issues that they’ve been having offensively lately. However, the most important thing is that they are getting Kevin Garnett back on the floor.
Garnett returned to the floor for the first time in eight games on Sunday night as the Celtics beat the Washington Wizards. Garnett played just 24 minutes in his return to action. However, he put up a nice stat line over that time, scoring 12 points and notching six rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block while shooting 6-of-9 from the field.
Garnett’s impact on the game was most felt on the defensive end. He’s undoubtedly their most sound defender on the interior and it showed when he was on the floor on Sunday. Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston reported a stat today that backed up how much Garnett effects the Celtics on defense: in the eight games Boston played without Garnett, they had a defensive rating of 103.4. In the 24 minutes that Garnett was on the floor Sunday night, their defensive rating was an astounding 84.7.
The Celtics aren’t going to be able to maintain a defensive rating of that level simply because that’s not really plausible. However, that stat does indicate how important Garnett is to the Celtics. Boston is a team that needs to play elite defense to be successful; Garnett certainly makes that much more possible for them, which is a definite positive for their playoff chances.