Big stars don't cry
Garnett puts aside emotion in preparing for Wolves
Posted: Friday January 25, 2008 1:03PM; Updated: Friday January 25, 2008 3:03PM
The giant sucking sound you might have heard Friday morning was Kevin Garnett and most of the other principal players vacuuming the emotions, nostalgia and hindsight out of the Boston Celtics' scheduled clash in the evening with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
To avoid distractions, potential embarrassment and a host of unnecessary "nyah, nyah's," Garnett and the others spent the better part of 48 hours downplaying the first regular-season meeting of his old team and his new team. Just another game, they said in advance of Friday's contest at the TD Banknorth Garden. Been there (London), done that (in October). Too many changes on both sides. Old news.
"I've got nothing for you," Garnett told reporters from both markets Thursday during a Celtics news conference. "A lot of guys I played with in Minnesota aren't even on the team."
Garnett said the same thing three months ago at The O2 in London, but sounds a lot more convincing now, the way things have played out halfway through the 2007-08 NBA season. Back then, so soon after Minnesota swapped its franchise face for the biggest package of active talent and draft picks ever obtained for a single NBA player, the Celtics were long on potential and expectations, their grand experiment of teaming Garnett and Ray Allen with Paul Pierce finally going from theory to lab. The Timberwolves, meanwhile, figured they were in for rough times but were buoyed by standard-issue October optimism, denial priced cheap.
Now? No contest. Game over. The Celtics got the better of the trade by far, short-term at least. They have the NBA's best record, while the Wolves have its worst. Seven losses for Boston compared to seven wins for Minnesota, nearly a mirror image by way of the funhouse.
Projected over a full 82-game schedule, Garnett's relocation from the Upper Midwest to New England represents the most dramatic shift in league history, going by added victories for his new team and added defeats for his old. At their current pace (through Thursday), the Celtics would win 68 games, an improvement of 44 over their '06-07 total. The Wolves would win just 14, a decline of 18 from their already modest 32 last season. That's a turnaround of 62, with Garnett responsible at one end and no fewer than seven former Celtics responsible at the other.