Danny Ainge had no reason to lie Monday when he said that if he hadn't gotten a good offer for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, he would have been prepared to go into battle again with the two Celtic warriors, and when asked if they were done, his response was "heavens no.'
Indeed, a review of Pierce and Garnett's season stats show some amazing numbers. Here's a sampling:
--Garnett has a three game stretch in the playoff series against the Knicks where averaged 17 rebounds a game, In Games 2, 3 and 4, KG had 18, 17 and 17 boards. In fact, during the series, where he averaged an uncharacteristic 35 minutes a game, he averaged 13.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists to go with his 12.7 scoring average ... on 50 percent shooting. Very KG.
--Pierce had a triple double against the Hawks on March 29, with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. It was his third triple double of the season, the most triple-doubles he's had in 10 years. In his first triple double of the season, Pierce had 17, 13 and 10 in an overtime win over the Heat.
--Garnett had six games of 20 and 10, as well as two other games of 19 and 10 and a game of 20 and 9. In a February 10 overtime win over Denver, KG has 20 points, 18 rebounds, six assists, three blocks and two steals ... in 47 minutes of action. Pierce played 54 minutes that night and finished with 27, 14 and 14. So the two combined for 47 points, 32 rebounds and 20 assists.
--Pierce had back-to-back games of 40 and 35 just before Christmas. In those two games, he shot a combined 26-of-39, or 66.7 percent, including 9-of-14 from deep, 64.3 percent. For the month of December, Pierce averaged 20.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists. Of the 14 games that month, he played 40 or more minutes four times. His worst game that month, Christmas Day vs the Nets, he scored only eight points, but had 10 assists.
--Garnett had better averages in back-to-back games with no rest (15.5 points) than he did with three or more days rest (14.5). His rebounds did get better with more rest (9.0 to 7.0). Playing against the NBA's young centers, he did well enough, with games of 18 and 10 vs. Roy Hibbert and 16 and 10 vs. Brook Lopez.
--Pierce also excelled in back-to-backs with no rest (21.2 points) compared to games with three or more days of rest (17.8). Where he really excelled in back-to-back games was shooting. In the 18 games where he had no rest between games, he shot 42 percent from deep, 48.1 percent overall.
Of course, there were issues, Garnett more than Pierce. Garnet missed 14 games, Pierce only five. Garnett averaged only 11.7 points in six games as power forward, playing the rest at center. Garnett originally thought he might need ankle surgery but later said rest and treatment did the trick. Pierce's playoff numbers tailed off, with his three point shooting, against a poor Knick defense, dropping to 26.8 percent ... and 36.8 percent overall.
But as Ainge said Monday, "I was surprised there wasn’t more interest. But, again, it’s the unknown. I guess I’m surprised because I know who they are. I know their health. I know what they have left in the tank, and I think a lot of people just look at the age and finances and with the uncertainty, it’s probably a scary thing to take on 37-, 38-year-old contract guys."
Apparently, not for the Nets.
- Meet the New Guys - Chris Hooker - The Brooklyn Game