The complexion of the Boston Celtics' opening-round series against the Chicago Bulls changed dramatically when Doc Rivers told reporters Thursday that Kevin Garnett will not be ready to start the series and is unlikely to return to the lineup anytime soon.
You've probably seen that Boston won at a .772 clip this season with Garnett in the lineup, as compared to a .720 pace in the 25 games he missed. That difference understates the magnitude of Garnett's value to the Celtics. In games Garnett played, Boston outscored opponents by 9.2 points a night -- a mark that ranked second in the league behind the Cleveland Cavaliers. Without him, that sank all the way to a plus-3.8 differential, well below that of the league's top teams, as well as the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets.