WALTHAM - Kevin Garnett was accorded the highest level of fan appreciation the NBA can offer.
Garnett was named last night to his 11th All-Star team as an Eastern Conference starting forward for the game Feb. 17 in New Orleans. The 2004 MVP also received a league-best 2,399,148 votes from fans online and via ballots. Garnett is the first Celtic All-Star since Paul Pierce in 2006 and the franchise's 123d All-Star selection.
"I'm appreciative, to be honest with you, I'm not going to lie," said Garnett yesterday after a film session. "But without these teammates of mine, this coaching staff, it wouldn't be possible. I'm fortunate to be in a position where I can say that we're winning. That feels good. I'm happy to be a part of that.
"At the end of the day, these individual awards are what they are. They are individual. But without Ray [ Allen], Paul, [Eddie ] House, [Rajon] Rondo, guys on this team, I wouldn't be where I am."
Garnett is averaging 19.5 points, a team-best 9.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.48 blocks, and 1.43 steals in 35.1 minutes per game and has played in all 40 contests. The 13-year veteran plays for a squad that owns an NBA-best 33-7 record. He also has the NBA's hottest-selling jersey and has heard "MVP" chants at TD Banknorth Garden.
Doc Rivers and his staff will coach the East, having clinched the honor by virtue of having the best conference record through Feb. 3. Pierce and Allen are strong All-Star reserve candidates and will learn if they were selected next Thursday.
Pierce finished fourth among forwards with 574,159 votes. Allen was third among guards with 1,061,740 votes.