Before last night, the Minnesota Timberwolves had been winless against Kevin Garnett since dealing away the prized power forward to Boston in the summer of 2007. Over the past six years, the Wolves had amassed an 0-10 record against the Celtics since that fateful trade, a telling sign of the ineptness that has lingered over the franchise since Garnett’s departure.
Since KG has been dealt, the Wolves have put together a 131-336 record (.280 winning percentage), making those long winters up north feel even longer. Meanwhile, the Celtics have done nearly the opposite with Garnett in uniform, going an incredible 311-157 (.660 winning percentage) over the past five and a half seasons with Garnett wearing the green and white.
With the Celtics battling through injuries and road struggles right now, it’s important to keep that kind of success in perspective. Boston is struggling right now, but that’s what happens when you have four players in the rotation that weren’t on the team two months ago and are missing two Hall-of-Famers. Believe me folks, it could be worse…a lot worse.
That brings me back to the last time Minnesota beat Boston. Garnett was in his last year in Minnesota and the Celtics were in the midst of a 17-game losing streak before being taken down yet again by none other than Ricky Davis.
Davis, who was traded by Danny Ainge with the immortal Mark Blount and other spare parts for Wally Szczerbiak, a 1st round pick and other spare change in January 2006 came back to wreak havoc on the Celtics that cold February night. Still playing hard despite losing 17 games in a row, the C’s had trouble containing a hot shooting Davis (28 points) while Garnett went for a triple-double with 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.
The contest came down to one final play, with the game tied and three seconds remaining. As the C’s wisely denied Garnett the ball on the inbounds play, Delonte West is late getting back to his man at the top of the key, allowing Randy Foye to get into the lane uncontested. The Celtics defense broke down, (sound familiar?) giving Davis a wide-open look.
18 straight losses it became for the Celtics after this one. A few final thoughts on that night after we check out the box scores via Basketball-Reference.com.
1) You know what’s the most impressive part of that box score? Minnesota’s record. How the hell did KG get that team of stiffs to a 24-27 mark? Thank God Danny and Kevin McHale got him out of there. What a waste of a career that would have been if he stayed with that group another season.
2) Mark Blount might be my all-time least favorite Celtic. You think Jeff Green is bad at rebounding? Go watch some old Blount tapes once he got his big contract extension. At least Green tries (sometimes).
3) A fun fact about the Davis/Blount trade to Minnesota. The Celtics dealt away a second round pick in that deal. It ended up being the 31st pick in the NBA draft in 2008 and none other than Nikola Pekovic, who burned the Celtics for 29 points last night.
Last, but not least, value this time Celtics fans that you have remaining with Garnett and Pierce. We got a sneak preview of that era last night and unless Danny pulls a couple rabbits out of it hat in the upcoming NBA Drafts, it’d be nice to keep those guys around as long as possible.