With Improved Hop, Kevin Garnett’s Rebounding a Difference-Maker for Celtics This Season


With Improved Hop, Kevin Garnett's Rebounding a Difference-Maker for Celtics This Season We're one week into the Celtics' 2010-11 season, and it's already a doozy. We've seen a momentous victory over the league's most-hyped team, a loss to a fallen superpower without its old star, and the first of many jaw-dropping performances this season from Rajon Rondo.

We've also seen behind-the-scenes fisticuffs that threaten the chemistry of the Celtics going forward.

We've seen a lot, both good and bad, both on the floor and off. And here's what we've learned.

1. Selfishness can be a good thing, if you think about it. The C's have committed 57 turnovers through three games, and that's a bad sign. The problem? Too much passing. With so many All-Star caliber teammates around them, the C's veterans are giving up the ball rather than taking good shots. The miscues are adding up. All these guys have talked about giving up their egos to buy into the team concept in Boston — but can't they get some of that "I'll get mine" attitude back? Just a little bit?

2. So Delonte West and Von Wafer went at it on Friday. If only they had that same fight on the basketball court. Wafer has been really disappointing for the Celtics so far, chucking up the occasional jump shot and really not doing much of anything else. As for Delonte, we're still waiting until Nov. 17, when he can make his debut back in Boston. Rumors have swirled about the motives behind Friday's scuffle — the most intriguing centering around anonymous quotes about medication — but the simplest reason is frustration. Both guys want to be impact players.

3. Jermaine O'Neal commented that Wednesday night's early exit — 12 minutes, six fouls, two points, two rebounds — was the worst of his career, "including Little League." J.O. would probably be relieved to hear that it's not historically bad by NBA standards. The worst foul-out in NBA history belongs to Mavericks forward Bubba Wells, who committed six fouls in three minutes against the Bulls on Dec. 29, 1997. He finished with two points, zero assists and zero rebounds.

Other notable players to foul out in seven minutes or less include Steve Nash, Shawn Kemp and former Celtic Leon Powe.

4. Kevin Garnett is going to be a major, major difference-maker on the glass this season. Consider this: KG has turned in double-digit rebounds in each of the season's first three games for the first time since 2007. Remember what happened that season? KG finished the year averaging 11.7 boards per game — and oh, right. The Celtics won the Finals.

Last year, KG had only one three-game streak with double digits in boards. Only twice did he even go back-to-back games.

5. Rajon Rondo isn't satisfied yet. The Celtics' point guard finished with 24 assists on Friday night, second-most in a single game in Celtics history. When informed he was second only to Bob Cousy's 28, he responded, "That means a lot, but I'm sure I'll try to catch him."

Here's an idea: Rondo and the Celtics host the Bucks on Wednesday night. The Bucks' coach, Scott Skiles, holds the all-time assists record for a single game, with 30. If Rondo really wants to leave his mark on the record books in style, he'll drop 31 on Wednesday with Skiles watching from the sidelines.

6. Mark your calendar for Homecoming Friday. Brian Scalabrine is coming back to the TD Garden in a Chicago Bulls uniform, and get this: He might actually play. Scal has actually averaged double digits in minutes through the Bulls' first three games, thanks in large part to Carlos Boozer "falling over a gym bag" in his home and breaking his hand. This time, C's fans, you don't have to chant to see Scal take the floor.

Also, as a side note: Shelden Williams is starting and averaging 12.3 rebounds per game for the Nuggets. Tony Allen has scored in double figures in back-to-back games for the Grizzlies. It's a great time to be a former Celtics bench scrub.

7. How big is Big Baby really? Doc Rivers has experimented lately with a crunch-time five featuring Glen Davis at the center position, giving the C's energy and scoring ability in the low post late in games. It's been a big hit with fans, and it's paid off on a few key plays, but don't get your hopes up. Using Baby at the five can only be situationally effective. Against bigger, more physical teams that can block his shots and keep him off the glass, he's not going to get the job done as a center.

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