Celtics: Big 3 minus 1 equals out in Round 2
By Jimmy Golen
Associated PressBOSTON ó The first-round victory over Chicago bought the Boston Celtics two more weeks.
As they went into Game 7 against Orlando, they allowed themselves to wonder whether they could extend their season long enough to get Kevin Garnett out of street clothes and on the court.”Clearly, that’s why we didn’t do surgery. I think that was not a secret,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after the Magic eliminated the defending champions with a 101-82 victory on Sunday night. “At one point, he was going to do surgery. And then we decided, ‘Well, why?’ Just fate, hope ó you never know. So we were hoping. But I didn’t think it was going to happen.”
Garnett’s surgery and recovery will be finished in time for the 2009-10 opener, Rivers said.The new Big Three could be split up after next season, when Ray Allen is scheduled to become a free agent. Plus, Garnett turns 33 today, and he already has 14 years of NBA experience in a body that has already broken down once.
Paul Pierce, who has two more years under contract, will be 32 and Allen will be 34.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have the big fella for this run,” Pierce said. “The main thing right now for him is to get healthy, keep the core together, bring him back next year and see what happens. Hopefully we can stay healthy next year in the playoffs. Honestly, I believe we are the best team in the NBA still when we have a healthy group of guys.”