The knee may never be the same. Kevin Garnett's heart hasn't changed a bit.
No longer the dominant player he was when the Boston Celtics won the NBA title two years ago, Garnett still plays with his same trademark intensity.
"What was burning in me two years ago is probably intensified just because of last year," Garnett said Wednesday. "It was kind of like we never had a real chance to really defend our own title."
Though still very good, Garnett is no longer the player who spearheaded the defensive effort that helped Boston shove the Los Angeles Lakers around in the 2008 NBA Finals.
The Celtics might have repeated with their power forward on the floor, but Garnett's 2008-09 season ended after 57 games because of a knee injury that required surgery.
He acknowledges Los Angeles is the rightful champion but can't fully escape the idea that Boston might have been the ones celebrating last season if he'd been healthy.
"He's got a big chip on his shoulder," teammate Glen Davis said.
Raptors: Toronto hired former Warriors coach P.J. Carlesimo as an assistant. He joins Alex English, Marc Iavaroni, Micah Nori, Eric Hughes and Alvin Williams on coach Jay Triano's staff.
Etc.: While Mike Krzyzewski is flattered by all the reports linking him to various NBA jobs, he insists he's not leaving Duke. Cleveland was mentioned in recent media reports as possibly being interested in luring Coach K away from Duke. The reasoning: LeBron James and Krzyzewski have formed a bond during their three stints together with the U.S. national team, plus Cavs general manager Danny Ferry was a Duke star in the 1980s. This isn't the first time Krzyzewski-to-the-NBA reports have surfaced.