by Myles Brown
“It’s amazing I’m the reason everybody’s fired up this evenin’…”
Breakups are hardly ever a mutual decision. Which is exactly what makes them awful. The noblest of intentions and the whims of a cad both beget the same sense of rejection and stir up the same insecurities. Someone inevitably feels as though they just weren’t good enough. But sometimes fate shows that same someone just how much better off they truly are. Sometimes that same someone realizes that it really wasn’t them. That they haven’t been abandoned, but freed to find fulfillment elsewhere. And that’s what can make reunions so special.
This would be the first time Kevin Garnett crossed paths with his ex on her turf, and the shiny new ring on his finger let 17,000 mutual friends know exactly who was better off. It was an inescapable topic of discussion Friday night and if anyone could identify with K.G.’s emotions, it was Ray Allen.
“I was emotional. You see a lot of old faces and a lot of people that you realize you’d missed. When you move on, you take your friends and family with you, but there are so many people that are friends and family in the building that you play in, that you get traded and you forget about things. You connect with new friends and family in that new city. So when you get back in the building, those emotions come because you see your ball boys over the past, you see the statisticians on the baseline, you see certain fans that you used to see all the time. That’s when your emotions get the best of you and you realize ‘Wow, I really spent a lot of time in this place.”
For a fanbase normally left gnashing their teeth at the exploits of a Brandon Roy, or a Danny Granger, or an O.J. Mayo, it was as pleasant an evening as a seventeen point blowout could possibly be. Seeing Garnett spearhead a ferocious defense and effortlessly establish himself on offense brought back fond memories. He wasn’t just another one that could have been, it actually happened, and no matter the circumstances, they couldn’t help but be happy for him.
“You worry bout the wrong things, the wrong things…”
After shaking off two early turnovers, Garnett and his lengthy wingspan left fingerprints all over this game. He kept Telfair and Foye from penetrating, flustered Jefferson into rushed shots (3-12 first half) and dared Love to make himself a threat from the perimeter (2-6 second half). Yet the Celtics were still down 39-36 after two quarters, despite Minnesota’s deplorable 27 percent shooting from the field. Boston turned the ball over a dozen times trying to finesse the Wolves, but clearly learned from their mistakes at halftime.
Realizing that their defense would sustain them, the C’s flourished in transition, led by Rajon Rondo’s 11 points and three assists in the third. When the horn sounded, the Wolves finished at 11 percent from the field and were outscored 35-10 as they approached historical levels of ineptitude. (Franchise record for worst shooting was 29 percent. They shot 31 percent Friday.) Garnett dunked, scowled and howled his way through the debilitating run, with a notable celebratory pump of his fist directly in front of Wolves owner Glen Taylor. On any other night such a thrashing would’ve sent fans screaming for the exits, but the kelly green mass stayed put. The whitest (Brian Cardinal, Mark Madsen and Kevin Love) front line in NBA history took the floor and few left.
Sadly, the man of the hour would not play in the fourth and missed the rousing ovation he deserved, but a faithful throng showered him with appreciation as he entered the tunnel afterward. It was no ring, but it was from the heart. Something Kevin Garnett can always appreciate.