UPDATE 7:35pm EST: What was only likely earlier today is now official. From Doc Rivers:
However, in a bit of a surprise it’s not Garnett’s strained abductor that is keeping him out tonight but rather his bout with the flu:
Garnett is expect to travel with the team to New Orleans for the Celtics’ match up with the Hornets on Wednesday. That, however, is of little consolation tonight as they face a Heat team that has won 22 straight games.
1:03pm EST: If you win 22 games in a row, you need to catch a few breaks. Like teams not being healthy and not being at their best when they face you.
The Heat could get win 23 that way Monday in Boston — Kevin Garnett did not go through shootaround with the Celtics on Monday, and while he is officially a game-time decision I wouldn’t bet on him playing. A. Sherrod Blakely has the details at CSNNE.com.
Garnett has a left adductor strain and missed the Celtics Bobcats game Saturday because of it.
The problem for Boston is twofold. First, the Heat are really good.
Second, The Celtics defense falls off a cliff when Kevin Garnett is not on the floor. On the season, the Celtics allow 100 points per possession when Garnett is on the floor and 109 when he sits (stats via 82games.com). That’s the difference between a top five in the league defense (the Celtics are fourth overall right now) and a bottom six defense.
Combine those two problems and the Celtics have a real challenge on their hands Monday.
Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.
Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.
Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.
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.