BOSTON (CBS) – There is no denying that Kevin Garnett has looked a bit old this season.
The Celtics forward has 17-years worth of NBA miles on his 36-year-old legs, wear that would cause most to not want to get out of bed in the morning.
There’s no word on how Garnett feels Thursday morning, but he looked like Kevin Garnett of old Wednesday night on Toronto. The some-what vintage performance propelled the Celtics to a 99-95 win over the Raptors — their fifth straight W.
On a night when nearly every other Celtic struggled, Garnett told his team to get on his back and enjoy the ride. He poured in 27 points on 11-for-18 shooting, with 11 of those points coming in a pivotal fourth quarter when the C’s outscored the Raptors 30-16 and erased a 10-point deficit.
Garnett got some help from the likes of Leandro Barbosa, who added 12 points off the bench, and Paul Pierce, who scored 12 points despite shooting 2-for-11 on the evening.
But they all fed off Garnett, who admitted their overall effort wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done.
“We’re fighters,” Garnett said after the win. “We’re a team that’s going to compete for 48 minutes. It’s not always pretty. We’re not perfect, we’re human beings. But we play hard, we do our best to go out and try to perfect the game plan.”
It was apparent Garnett had it going when he made a circus shot early in the fourth, throwing the ball behind his head and banking it in for the basket and the foul to tie the game at 79. He hit five of the eight shots he put up in the game’s final frame, including a dagger turnaround from 12-feet out with 46 seconds left to put Boston up 96-91.
Garnett also pulled down four of his 10 rebounds in the fourth, giving him his 12th double-double of the season. He did all of this in just 32 efficient minutes, a big factor given the Celtics will have little rest before facing the Lakers on Thursday night. Garnett does get a bit of a break, not having to go against either Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol, who are both out with injuries.
Garnett can also make a little history on Thursday night, as he sits just six points away from becoming just the 16th player to reach the 25,000-point plateau.
It’s a milestone one can only reach with years steady dominance, and while he isn’t the dominating force he once was in Minnesota or his first few years with the Celtics, Garnett is still stamping his legacy on the NBA.