Originally posted on State Of The Celtics  |  Last updated 1/17/12



Kevin Garnett and the majority of the Boston Celtics have looked old, slow and stuck in cement for the majority of the season. That shouldn't come as a major surprise to anyone watching the games since the Celtics actually are old and slow. It just seems to be that people are in denial about how old and slow this team actually is and continue to blame this season's issues on last season's trade of Kendrick Perkins. John Hollinger of ESPN says that the biggest problem for the Celtics isn't the absence of Perk, but the absence of Garnett's athleticism and physical attributes.

And that, in a nutshell, is the story behind the 2011-12 Celtics. Garnett, the linchpin of one of the best defensive teams in NBA history over the past four seasons, can't get off the ground, and it's affecting his game at every level. Monday night he used 25 possessions to produce 12 points, with several close-in shots providing particularly poignant reminders. One close-in flip that would have been a dunk two years ago went in, but another was instead rejected by Serge Ibaka.

Last season, Garnett made a staggering impact defensively. Boston gave up 6.19 fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the court than off it, and the Celtics already were among the league's best defensive teams without him. According to basketballvalue.com, only one player -- Chicago's Ronnie Brewer -- had opponents score less when he was on the court than Garnett's 97.84 points per 100 possessions.

This season, Garnett is nowhere to be found on that leaderboard; Boston gives up the same amount whether he's on the court or off it, even though his replacement is normally the defensive suspect Brandon Bass.

Hollinger couldn't be more right. KG can't jump anymore. It's been evident since Christmas Day. The explosion and the lift is gone. And I fear that it has nothing to do with conditioning or a shortened training camp. It has everything to do with age. There are too many miles on those legs and they're starting to betray him. See last night's game for some perfect examples. Perk and Serge Ibaka got their hands on a few of KG's jumpers, something that would have never happened a couple of years ago or maybe even as recently as last season. Garnett has been relegated to the use of the floater, lay-in and finger roll when he's close to the basket instead of throwing down monstrous two-handed dunks and finishing them off with primal screams. Even worse, he's been missing those easy lay-ins lately and hasn't been able to get off the ground enough to grab his own rebounds.

The sad part about all of this is that it seemed to happen overnight. I don't remember him consistently looking this bad last year. It only took seven months for one of the all-time greats to go from a still-effective defensive presence and floor leader to a liability.

The sadder part about all of this is that it isn't going to get any better.
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