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BOSTON (CBS) – Kevin Garnett doesn’t like to rebound, but he certainly has made a career out of it.
“I like nothing about it,” Garnett said Tuesday night after hauling in a team-high 13 rebounds for the Celtics against the Houston Rockets. “It’s something that I have to do. It’s something that I’m decent at, and it’s something that I know how to do. That’s what it is.”
Garnett surpassed Shaquille O’Neal on the NBA’s All-Time rebounding list Tuesday night, taking over 12th with 13,100 career boards over his 17-year career.
“History is history. I’m very fortunate to be in a position to be a part of NBA history. It’s always been a big deal for me to leave a legacy or leave some footprints, if you will, or some type of mark on the game, and to have played with one of the best, if not the greatest, big men to ever play the game,” Garnett said after Boston’s 97-92 overtime win. “It’s more than a pleasure to be in the same category, if not on the same list. I’m more than honored, to all the coaches and players I’ve played with, who have put me in a position to create some of those footprints and some of those marks, so thank you.”
Garnett has done it all for Boston this season, highlighted by his recent move to center to fill in for the injured Jermaine O’Neal. KG has had a mini-rejuvenation as of late, averaging nearly 19 points and 10 rebounds his last five games, all Celtics wins. Tuesday night, he scored 13 points to go with his 13 boards for his fourth straight double-double and 13th of the season.
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Where Garnett has been most impressive is on the defensive end. Now going against centers that often have a few inches on him, Garnett has not backed down from the challenge. His defensive intensity has not tailed off, and the rest of the team has been feeding off it.
What has increased for Garnett, and could be a cause for concern for the 35-year-old, are his minutes. Garnett played 38 minutes Tuesday night, this just two days after playing a season-high 41 minutes in the C’s 115-111 OT win over the Knicks on Sunday.
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With a tough stretch coming up, including an eight-game road trip with three back-to-backs, keeping Garnett fresh will be important. But his head coach is not concerned about KG’s increase on the court.
“I’m not worried about his minutes,” Doc Rivers said after Tuesday night’s win. “He’s going to have some days where he plays 40 minutes. I don’t like them back to back. But he’s also going to have some 25-minute games. So, at the end of the season, it’ll still say 30. How we get to it is how we get to it.”
But with a chance to tie the Philadelphia 76ers for the lead in the Atlantic Division, expect Garnett’s minutes and intensity to be right up where they normally are Tuesday night.
And right now, Garnett on the floor is translating into very good things for the Celtics.