Kevin Garnett comes back to the city where he spent his first 12 seasons of his career as the Boston Celtics take on the Minnesota Timberwolves at 8 p.m. EDT on Friday night in Minneapolis, Minnesota (TV/Radio: CSNNE/WEEI).
Garnett has been playing high quality basketball ever since the All-Star break, which also marks the time when he was moved to center due to Jermaine O'Neal's wrist injury. Since February 28, Garnett has scored 10 or more points on 17 occasions, has equaled or topped 20 points eight times and has had seven double-doubles in 18 games.
"Kevin's been amazing," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers after Boston's win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. "I was joking but its true, but if you had an All-Star vote at the center spot in the league right now he'd be right up there because that's what he's been since the break. He's a five and he's been terrific"
Garnett's play has certainly played a major role in the Celtics' resurgence in the second half of the season. Boston (28-22) is 13-5 since the All-Star break and has won two or more games consecutively on four occasions. Currently, the Celtics are riding a three game winning streak after wrapping up a season long eight-game West coast road trip with a 4-4 record.
Boston's latest victim was Utah, which came all the way back from an 18-point deficit to tie the game in the second half but ultimately lost, 94-82. Garnett registered a double-double with a game-high 23 points and 10 boards. Paul Pierce scored 20 and Brandon Bass chipped in with 19 points as Boston shot 46.8 percent from the floor.
Minnesota (25-27) has been trying to stay afloat after losing young star point guard Ricky Rubio to injury for the season. All hope is not lost for the T'Wolves, though, considering that they have one of the best power forwards in the league in Kevin Love. Predictably, Love had a dominant game (40 points, 19 rebounds) in Minnesota's 88-83 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday. The Wolves gave up 21 and 26 points in the first two quarters before holding Charlotte to 18 points in each of the final two periods to secure the victory.
"You know every team's tough," Rivers said. "The way we look at it, every team's a playoff team because we make them that way or they are. So we just have to stay focused each game. This has been a one game at a time."