BOSTON - Feeding off of the energy of the vivacious sellout crowd of 18,624, Kevin Garnett got off to a thunderous start in Boston's 98-95 overtime victory over Portland, scoring 11 of his 13 points in the first half.
He also finished with four rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
"It felt good man," Garnett said of his return. "I thought I had some decent energy. I really wasn't worrying about my wind. As far as showing on picks and the schemes and things we do, I wasn't really worried about too much."
Garnett, who had not played since Dec. 28 because of a hyper-extended right knee, was understandably fatigued in the second half and overtime, and that led to some cheap fouls. He was called for five fouls on the night.
"I was mad that I was in foul trouble," Garnett said. "You don't really help your team when you're doing things like...My timing's off a little bit as far as rebounding but you know I'll get that. That's all watching film and stuff but other than that I felt good out there, confident and strong."
Garnett favored his right leg throughout the game, but he said he's fine.
"I just got banged a couple of times," Garnett said. "That's part of the game. You get roughed up. But I'm OK man. I'm alright."
The Celtics are 5-6 without Garnett this season. Without Garnett, the Celtics are scoring 99.5 points per game on 47.9 percent shooting, but allowing 99.6 point on 46.7 percent shooting.
With Garnett (15.0 points, 7.6 rebounds) in the lineup, the Celtics are 23-7 and are scoring 100 points per game on 49 percent shooting while limiting their opponents to 92 points on 43 percent shooting.
"It was very difficult sitting there watching," Garnett said. "I don't sit on the bench for a reason and I try not to say anything until after the game. I go to guys individually and give them my take on the game. Your're almost helpless...sitting there watching your guys and knowing that you can't be out there.
"The impact that I think I can give this team is tremendous. I bring energy when it comes to defense. I look for guys, I get guys open, some of the small things I think we've been lacking the last couple of games. Tonight I though pretty much I set solid picks, something that I didn't think we were doing the last couple of games. That got guys some easy layups, some easy baskets.
"I knocked down my own shot, was aggressive and got to the free throw line a couple of times. Those are the things that we're going to need, especially taking pressure off of Paul [Pierce], pressure off of Rajon [Rondo], pressure off of Ray [Allen]...I'm excited to be back and hopefully we can get better going into the All-Star break."
Boston coach Doc Rivers said he is not concerned about his All-Star's surgically-repaired right knee.
"He looked great," Rivers said. "He looked tentative as far as offense. His rhythm was off. He got great shots too. I really tried to stay away from him as far as post and even the jump shot because when you miss the games that he missed, you know your touch is going to be off a little bit. But overall defensively he looked terrific. Just absolutely terrific."