NBA Playoffs, Cavaliers Celtics: Garnett and Perkins are banged up but will go for Game 3

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Thumbnail image for Garnett_Game.jpgNobody left on a playoff team is really healthy right now. Well, Kosta Koufos is, although that isn’t really doing anybody any good.

But the Celtics had team heartbeat Kevin Garnett and the guy who has to defend Shaquille O’Neal (Kendrick Perkins) banged up, and that could be trouble.

Both are sore, but both will go in game three, according to

The good news is that neither of the players suffered dramatic injuries that will keep them out of the lineup for an extended period of time. The bad news is that the injuries are bad enough to keep both Garnett and Perkins out of practice in the midst of a do-or-die playoff series…

Perkins’ injury, a hyperextended right knee, happened at the team’s morning shootaround (on Monday before Game 2). The circumstances surrounding his injury weren’t what you would expect, as Perkins attributed the issue to a sudden lack of coordination.

Garnett’s injury is actually game-related, as he suffered a strained right mid-food in the final minutes of Monday’s win. He continued to play until Rivers took him out with 40.4 seconds remaining in the game, but his foot has also became more painful in the days since.

If the Celtics/Cavaliers series had been on an every-other-day schedule, Doc Rivers said KG would have missed Game 3. Thanks to the usually annoying, television-dictated playoff schedule, the Celtics are off until Friday. And this time, they’ll happily take that.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.