Each week during the season we join forces with our friends and TrueHoop partner CelticsHub for a game of 5-on-5 tackling key issues surrounding the Celtics. In this week's edition, we offer thoughts on whether Jermaine O'Neal has played his last game in green, who will emerge as Atlantic Division champs, and what the trade deadline might hold. Here's a sample, offering reasons behind Kevin Garnett's recent resurgence:
* Hayes Davenport: Probably just natural rhythms of biology and luck. Not sure he’s “extra motivated” because he’s always pretty much motivated to capacity.
* Chris Forsberg: A combination of knowing that this season (and the future of the Big Three) likely hinged on the stretch of games coming out of the break and Garnett being shuffled to the center position. Garnett has thrived in a league thin on pure centers, using a newfound quickness advantage at the 5 to increase his offensive output. In a way, it’s given Garnett a little extra confidence and combined with Boston’s early success in the second half, he’s playing some very inspired ball at both ends of the floor (at a time when Boston needed it most).
* Brendan Jackson: A mixture of pride and a legitimate second wind. KG’s play, like the rest of the Celtics, will continue to fluctuate with the weather. That said, it’s encouraging to see that he still has the ability to reach down and find enough to dominate opponents on a given night.
* Brian Robb: Fresh legs and a sense of urgency. The lengthy All-Star respite combined with a two-game personal absence before the break perhaps had the hidden blessing of revitalizing Garnett’s legs. You also can’t overlook the additional focus KG and his teammates have had with their new “grind” mentality since the break. Take that, combined with some added rebounding responsibilities at center and you’ve got an 18-10 player.
* CelticsHub Reader Mark Allison: It could very well be that KG is making his last stand. He might be contemplating retirement at the end of the season, and if that’s the case he’s going to go out leaving everything he has on the floor. He may have even discussed this with his teammates, creating the recent surge in intensity from the team as a whole (minus last night).