The standout performances from Boston’s Game 5 win were numerous. Brandon Bass played stellar basketball on both ends of the floor. Jeff Green hit clutch treys in the fourth quarter. Jason Terry proved his worth again with his outside shooting. The C’s needed all of these guys to come through to extend their season at least one more game and they delivered.
Just like the past five seasons though, no player meant more to the Boston Celtics though than Kevin Garnett. No player wanted it more either.
“It was a Game 7 mentality,” Garnett said after the win. “It’s an all-out mentality. There’s no tomorrow. We need to go out there and play. We put ourselves down 3-0 and we have to work our way out of it now.”
Great players lead by example and no one is doing a better job of putting on his hard hat and making things happen right now than the Big Ticket.
Defensively, he’s anchoring a squad that has kept the Knicks’ offense at bay for five straight games, holding them to a paltry 39.4 percent shooting last night.
Offensively, he scored 16 points, including a clutch jumper over Tyson Chandler off a double pump fake to put the game away for Boston.
Yet, there’s been no part of Garnett’s game that has stood out more than his rebounding. KG’s doing better work on the glass in this series, than any other postseason in his career.
In Game 5, Garnett tied his season-high with 18 rebounds. The only other game he matched that number with 18 boards came in a triple-overtime win over the Nuggets back in February.
The superb rebounding is not an isolated incident though for Game 5. It was his third consecutive game with 17+ rebounds in this series. He’s leading all rebounders this postseason, averaging 14.4 rebounds per game in just 34.2 minutes per game.
Doc Rivers wasn’t shy when pointing out how crucial KG has been in this series by keeping the Knicks off the offensive glass in Game 5.
“Whenever they get an offensive rebound, they find a three-point shooter. It is amazing how they do it. Kevin Garnett, we extended his minutes tonight, was fantastic. We gave him a little rest in the middle of the fourth quarter so he could finish the game strong. His rebound and his presence has been amazing for us,” Rivers exclaimed.
A deeper dive into the numbers tells a more incredible story about Garnett’s effectiveness. The Big Ticket grabbed 44.4 percent of all available defensive rebounds while he was on the floor last night. For the postseason, he’s grabbed 41.5 percent of those defensive boards.
Those are far and away Garnett’s best rebounding numbers in his postseason career, and could very well be the best five-game rebounding stretch of his entire Hall-of-Fame career. So how exactly has KG been doing this?
“I have no idea,” he admitted postgame.
For some perspective, that’s not just Reggie Evans good rebounding the ball. It’s better. He’s actually doing a better job than the master Evans himself this postseason. Brooklyn’s power forward clocks in with a 40 percent defensive rebounding rate. He led the league in DRR during the regular season at 38 percent by a landslide.
Despite the stellar play, Garnett wants no accolades. He knows the C’s job is far from done.
“We’re still down 3-2. The next game we lose is it,” Garnett reasoned. “I don’t know what everybody is talking about with getting comfortable, feeling good. We’re down 3-2. It’s not like we even it up and are going back home.”
It’s unclear whether the Celtics will make history in this series. Just know while they attempt to, the 36-year-old Garnett is making some of his own.
You know, while he’s out there, scrapping.