Courtney Lee, Kevin Garnett, Jeff Green, Jason TerryKevin Garnett didn’t exactly make the dramatic All-Star game exit many Celtics fans had been hoping for when he cryptically leaked last week that this would be his last appearance in the event. He did take the floor as the starting center for the Eastern Conference, however, fulfilling his due diligence in the lineup and saluting the fans.

The big man does, after all, have a surging ball club poised to make noise on the NBA betting line in the second half of the 2012-13 season that he’d like to stay healthy for. When you’re 26 years old, you can afford to log as many meaningless minute as you want in February, but at 36 it’s better to be more reserved.

Playing just six minutes in his 15th and presumed final All-Star Game, Garnett made sure to soak it all in, embracing the perennial tradition that’s made him a household name anywhere basketball is appreciated on this planet.

With 22-1 odds of winning the NBA championship, however, he’ll have work to do when he gets back to home.

Though a mainstay on the NBA futures for much of the past decade, Boston’s surge in the absence of superstar point guard Rajon Rondo has basketball fans reconsidering just how much gas is left in the Celtics’ tank. At one point it was almost inevitable that the juggernaut contender would be broken up and parts would be shipped away for the best deal.

Since the Rondo injury, however, there’s been a glimmer of hope in Boston as the Celtics have taken a stand against the NBA odds that were pointed against them. Both Garnett and running mate Paul Pierce have started to turn back time just enough to keep their franchise relevant.

There are many obstacles that lay between the Celtics and Eastern Conference supremacy, but for a club once considered susceptible to missing out on the playoff picture all together, the 28-24 record isn’t half bad.

Since KG’s clarification that the 2013 All-Star event would be his last due not to a surprise retirement at the end of the year, but rather his own intuition that his days of earning the fan vote are limited, there’s been a sense of relief coming in Boston.

The Celtics may not have one of the game’s flashiest young players, but at least they have a warrior who has every intention of sticking by their side, even through the twilight of his career.

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