Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/26/13
They are too old, too slow, well past the age when they presumably should have been put out to pasture. Yet Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who are still members of the Celtics despite trade rumors that circulated for months, also happen to still be Boston’s best and most consistent players. They are going nowhere in the short term, and should stay there for the foreseeable future as well. When the Celtics limped into All-Star weekend — literally, with two players suffering season-ending knee injuries in the weeks prior, not figuratively, as the team had won eight of nine games heading into the break — some experts and fans clamored for a big change at the trade deadline. With Rajon Rondo done until at least next season and two more key players following him to the sideline indefinitely, a few cosmetic changes were not going to be enough. The Celtics, supposedly, needed to do something drastic. Whenever the Celtics struggle nowadays, the lazy fallback argument is that they are too old. In any other case, that may be true. Teams that rely on two stars well into their 30s typically battle fatigue and inconsistency more than teams stocked with stars in their primes. The rationale behind the Celtics “blowing it up” assumed that the team needed to rid itself of its aging veterans before it could move on. There is only one massive problem with that: Pierce and Garnett have been nowhere near the Celtics’ biggest problem this season. As though he needed to provide any further evidence, Pierce came through with another do-everything performance on Monday. He scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to finish with 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in the Celtics’ 110-107 victory over the Jazz. Meanwhile, Garnett had 13 points and 10 rebounds while making Jazz big man Al Jefferson disappear down the stretch in a close game. The Jazz could only shake their heads in admiration. “They are veteran guys, and they find ways to win,” Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward told reporters after the game. “[Pierce] has been doing that for a while. I think I can take this as a learning experience, see how he controlled the game when it got down to the wire and try to emulate some of that.” Monday’s performance was nothing new. Pierce, 35, and Garnett, 36, have been by far the Celtics’ most consistent players all season. That includes the 26-year-old Rondo, who was slated to be a starter on the Eastern Conference All-Star team before he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, and other young, athletic dynamos like Jeff Green, Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee. Among all still-healthy Boston players, Pierce and Garnett lead all Celtics in player-efficiency rating by a healthy margin. Their net offensive and defensive ratings, which measure the amount of points the Celtics score and allow per 100 possessions with them on the court, are also the two highest on the team. They are doing all this not in occasional spurts, which can inflate the efficiency stats of lesser-used players, but in extended playing time. The Celtics’ most-used two-man lineup combination is — you guessed it — Pierce and Garnett. Doc Rivers is still leaning on his old guys, and they are still producing. Amid all the calls to mortgage the present for an uncertain future, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge recognized this and made the right decision to maintain the status quo. Josh Smith and DeAndre Jordan can run and jump and do some impressive things, but what evidence was there that they would be an improvement over the “old guys,” when the old guys remain superior to those players in their primes? (Yes, this is probably as good as it is going to get for Jordan, who is still just 24 years old. The shot-blocking and rebounding specialist is averaging the fewest rebounds and blocks per 36 minutes of his career, and the Clippers did not seem all that broken up about the prospect of trading him. Several reports indicated Eric Bledsoe was the player they really did not want to part with.) If what Pierce and Garnett are doing constitutes “too old,” then Michael Jordan may want to think seriously about making that comeback he threatened to make at 50. Apparently, “too old” means outplaying younger and spryer players on a regular basis, which is not too shabby. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Oregon unveils majestic display for Mariota's Heisman

Ravens OL's tiny Nissan out of place in team parking lot

Brazen Buckeye blocks Urban Meyer's car

Jaguars GM: Justin Blackmon's NFL career likely over

WATCH: Rays rookie hits first HR, gets ignored by teammates


Email shows Ravens tipped off Colts about deflated footballs

Report: Mexico in talks with Marcelo Bielsa for coaching job

Brady: Never thought about air pressure until refs inflated to 16 PSI

Report suggests C.J. Wilson’s teammates not happy he’s seeking season ending surgery

Clowney’s father arrested for attempted murder outside club

Report: L.A.-area venues wary of temporarily hosting NFL teams

Fabricio Werdum open to rematch with Fedor

Poker pro Daniel Negreanu wants to partially own Vegas NHL team

Penn State modernizes with new shield logo

UT preview: Why the Volunteers can win the national title

WATCH: Jordan embarrassed by camper over his shoes

Rice: 'I can understand why some people will never forgive me'

Rod Marinelli: “Fortunate” to go through 0-16 season with Lions

WATCH: Jimmy Rollins gets big ovation in return to Philly

2015 Premier League preview: Avoiding relegation

NHL and MLB Advanced Media announce $1.2 billion deal

Knicks analyst Walt Frazier isn’t very enthused about team’s chances next season

Dave Dombrowski is out as Tigers GM

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

2015 Premier League preview: Avoiding relegation

Kris Bryant on changing to feet-first slide: ‘I only have one head’

MLB season in NY better than expected

Adrian Beltre gets mad when assaulted after HR

Lindsey Vonn shows support for Tiger

Notre Dame doesn't need a conference

Rex takes jabs at Jets' management

Sanchez: It's 'crazy' to call Chip racist

Ronda Rousey calls out Cyborg

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker