Well, so much for a repeat. According to Boston media sources, Celtics Coach Doc Rivers told WEEI radio this morning (via the ASSOCIATED PRESS) that star forward Kevin Garnett isn’t going to be ready for the team’s first round series with the Chicago Bulls. In fact, Rivers is saying that smart money has Garnett missing the entire playoffs.
(This scene won’t be reenacted this spring.)
That sounds you hear is that confident bubble of pride surrounding the city of Boston bursting — and the city of Cleveland rejoicing — all at once.
“He’s not going to be ready. After watching him practice, there’s no way,” Rivers said. “The way I saw him move today, I don’t know if he’ll be ready.”
The Celtics are still a playoff caliber team without Garnett, but they’re certainly not a squad capable of defending an NBA title. In fact, missing Garnett is precisely the kind of blow that will convince the young Bulls that they can actually steal this first round series if they get lucky with a win in Games 1 or 2. After Garnett went back on the shelf in April, the Celtics still won 10 of 11 games down the stretch. Yet there’s a substantive difference between winning regular season games against teams that may or may not have a postseason future, and winning playoff games against the likes of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
Rivers gave off a confident vibe about his team’s chances sans Garnett in a Steve Buckley column in the BOSTON HERALD this morning, but its hard to read much into that now, given that he actually knows that Garnett isn’t going to be ready. In fact, when you read his comments now, the story reads as if the team chances are almost predicated entirely on having Garnett there in some shape or form. That’s how convinced they were that Garnett was going to be back playing somehow in some form.
In fact, all of this just seems to make the entire playoffs a should-be cake walk for the Cavs and Lakers. Think about it: No Garnett-led Boston in the East? Advantage Cleveland. No Manu Ginobili scoring for San Antonio in the West? Advantage L.A. Maybe we can get David Stern to delay the MVP vote until those teams meet in the finals?