While everyone (rightfully so) focused on Kevin Garnett and how his surgically repaired knee would hold up against LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the Celtics' season-opener, the most encouraging sight of the night was seeing Kendrick Perkins on the bench in crunch time.



JEFF GOODMAN

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CLEVELAND — Here are three things we learned from the Celtics' 95-89 win over the Cavaliers in Cleveland Tuesday night:

THE BIG BENCH COULD BE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS THE BIG THREE



MIKE PETRAGLIA

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If there has been one constant of the Big Three era in Boston, it has been a relative absence of crazy. Sure, little things have flared up from time to time, but unlike almost every other NBA locker room, there have been very few non-basketball items on the agenda.



PAUL FLANNERY

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Last season there were banner dedications, ring ceremonies, and a hero’s welcome in front of a grateful home crowd.



JESSICA CAMERATO

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On the eve of another NBA season, we convened our expert panel to talk about the Celtics, their quest for Banner No. 18 and the league at large.



PAUL FLANNERY

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WALTHAM — Much has been made about the empty banner that hangs in the corner of the Celtics practice facility. It is a physical manifestation of the expectations that always hover around this franchise, and it is also a not-so-subtle reminder that filling in the unwritten words is the goal for this year.



PAUL FLANNERY

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The big question facing the Celtics this preseason — really the biggest preseason question in the whole NBA — concerned the health and well-being of Kevin Garnett. Those questions appear to be answered. KG is back.



PAUL FLANNERY

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There are nights during the offseason when Marquis Daniels will disappear. Unable to sleep, he will escape to a small area of his home and stay there for seven, eight hours at a time. There he slips into a zone and works on his craft. This refuge is not a basketball court. It is a music studio.



JESSICA CAMERATO

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Candace Parker had to show him up on his turf.

A crowd gathered to watch the basketball power couple tough it out. It was a one-on-one battle between the Duke record-holder and the future face of women's basketball. They had faced off before in friendly matchups, but this time it was different.



JESSICA CAMERATO

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Every year in the NBA as a new crop of first-year players take the floor, veteran players can’t wait to test them. Can they handle themselves on the block? How do they react to the pick and roll? If there’s a weakness in their game it will be exploited over and over again.



PAUL FLANNERY

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