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Doc Defends Kevin Garnett, Denies Cereal Rumors; Chris Wilcox Returns to Practice

 

A day after Carmelo Anthony was handed down a one-game suspension for confronting Kevin Garnett postgame following a C’s win on Monday night, it appears we may have to put to bed an entertaining but unsubstantiated rumor behind the confrontation. After reports circulated the past couple days from a Black Sports Online post regarding what exactly KG had said to Melo about his wife, which supposively set him off, Doc Rivers was asked the question directly on WEEI-FM in Boston on Dennis and Callahan. (Via Greg Payne at ESPNBoston:)

On the Honey Nut Cheerios Comment: “Well, No. 1, I know what’s been reported did not happen,” Rivers said adamantly during his weekly interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI. “I know that as a fact. That did not happen.”

Why did the rumor come out? “Guys, you know how this works,” Rivers said. “A guy does something crazy like Carmelo did, and the way to get out of trouble is to say, ‘Well, he said this.’ It happens all the time, and what bugs me about this whole thing is this is not a Kevin Garnett issue. And it was made into one, and it shouldn’t have been made into one.”

On Trash Talk and KG: “It’s pretty crude, I can tell you,” Rivers said. “Out there at times, you hear some crazy stuff. But when it gets racial or personal to family, then that crosses the line. But I’m going to say it again: In this case, that didn’t happen.

“(Garnett) does (know where the line is). He does. I will say that. I’ve never heard him cross the line. And usually when he talks about guys, it’s usually about their game or their team or what he thinks if the guy’s a winner or loser.”

With these latest string of denials, hopefully this is an issue that can be put to bed, at least until the Knicks return to town two weeks from tonight.

In other encouraging news, it appears Chris Wilcox is on the mend and getting closer to a return. The forward/center has not played since December 18th in Chicago, a contest in which he sprained the UCL in his right thumb. Reports out of practice in Waltham today indicate that Wilcox could be back in action sooner rather than later, as he plans to try to take part in today’s practice.

 

 

Wilcox’s return would be the final piece to a fully healthy Celtics roster, a sight I’m not sure Doc Rivers has seen in years during the regular season. With Danny Ainge undoubtedly keeping an eye on the market next month for potentially useful big man additions, seeing Wilcox back in action is important to see just exactly what he can give this group. As I wrote about before Wilcox’s injury, his rebounding and defensive struggles pushed him out of the rotation just before he got hurt.

Now though, with the return of improved defense to the C’s, in large part due to Avery Bradley, Wilcox’s offensive weapons could put him back in the rotation ahead of Jason Collins once he becomes healthy and help silent the need for another big.

Look for Wilcox to return to game-action sometime next week.

  • Phil

    I'm looking forward to Wilcox's return (though those reports don't do very much to encourage me, pain coming and going and injured 'CL's are never good.) He was out of place as a third big trying to come in and hold down the center of the defense. He's perfect as the Jeff Green of big guys; come in, run, add a PnR presence, get some alley oops and bring energy. If he's playing well, crank his minutes up, if not, hide him or bench him quick. He should be able to fill the fourth big role just fine as long as he's healthy. You expect some no-shows, but that's fine when you're paying a guy the minimum.

    Keep in mind, this is a guy who had heart surgery a couple months after Jeff Green. So anyone who was arguing for more time for Green should have a long leash for Wilcox.

    • kg215

      The only drawback to Wilcox (healthy or not) is he is an offensive minded big. He does get some rebounds with his energy/hustle but it doesn't really solve our need for a shotblocker/rebounder to play next to and/or backup KG. Sullinger can definitely cover the rebounding part, but needs more time on the defensive end. Unlike Wilcox though Sullinger has pretty good defensive instincts, just needs to get more experience.

      • phil913

        Pretty much everything about Sullinger has been encouraging though. I'm starting to feel really good about him taking care of any rebounding need (though I've been saying all along that it was never as big a problem as everyone thought,) but it's his defense that intrigues me more. The team right now is 6.5 points per 100 better defensively with him on the court. That alone is cool, but what makes it even more impressive is how often he plays without KG (which is when the defense usually falls apart, see KG's +10.6 defensively.)

        It's too small of a sample size to determine anything right now, but it's a lot more encouraging than him getting killed back there early in the year. He's played extremely well alongside KG too, it was the most effective two man pairing last I checked.

        The point is (and how it gets back to Wilcox,) is that this is probably who the team is going to be going forward unless you expect a major trade, and we know the bigger problem is offense. If Wilcox can add an offensive spark while Lee/Terry/Sullinger and the rest of the bench picks up the defense a little (like they have lately,) it will help a lot.

  • Josh_5

    With the return of Bradley and our stifling Celtic defense, Wilcox fits perfectly into the "Play 8-12 minutes a game and give us instant offense" type role. You can hide his defensive deficiencies by playing him with Bradley and KG. He is the exact opposite of Collins (an offensive liability) and the center version of Barbosa.

  • bryan powell

    Im glad C Wezzy (wilcox) thats what we call him back home in Whiteville NC IS BACK. More playing time for him is needed.

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