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Sports Then and Now

Kevin Garnett Makes Magical Return Against Orlando

Posted on January 19, 2011 by Raj Prashad

Garnett's energy was outstanding in his return from injury Monday night.

After missing nine games with a calf strain, the return of Kevin Garnett gave Boston the spark it needed to run past the remade Orlando Magic 109-106 Monday night.

The Celtics seemed to lack much intensity in their previous four games, but there was no question KG had returned to the floor in Monday night’s thrilling victory over the Orlando Magic.

On a critical Magic possession with 16 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the C’s holding a three-point lead, Garnett’s rotation on a Jameer Nelson pick led to a game-sealing steal to extend the C’s win streak to three. KG produced 19 points over 31 minutes while adding two steals, two assists, and a team-high eight rebounds. In his first game back, Garnett had a performance reminiscent of what he looks like when he’s healthy. Garnett crashed the boards, looked excellent on rotations, and was money from mid-range.

His game brought an extra level that produces more than statistics though. His all around energy and intensity on the defensive end brought another gear to everyone on the floor with him. Ray Allen was able to find open shots, Rajon Rondo penetrated the lane with ease, and Shaq had a quality outing regardless of being in foul trouble most of the night.

The men in green shot 60 percent from the field on a night where the second unit failed to find a rhythm. Boston’s stifling defense led to 13 turnovers, only allowed 26 points in the paint, and held the Magic to just under 46 percent shooting. Rondo recorded yet another double-double with 10 points and 13 assists, followed by Ray Allen who went 8 of 11 for 26 points over a team-high 39 minutes.

In KG’s absence the Celtics have allowed four more points and almost eight more rebounds a game to opposing teams. With more second chance opportunities for other teams, the C’s found it more difficult to win games, going 7-4 in their last 11 match-ups.

With Garnett healthy again, the C’s look prepared to continue their winning ways through the second half of the season.

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