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Celtics notebook

Kevin Garnett becomes center of attention for Celtics

Kevin Garnett has experienced an offensive rebirth since the All-Star break, and the Celtics are a quicker team with him at center.
David Zalubowski/Associated Press
Kevin Garnett has experienced an offensive rebirth since the All-Star break, and the Celtics are a quicker team with him at center.

DENVER - Kevin Garnett does not like to play center. He readily acknowledges that, despite his 7-foot stature. Given that he is the only legitimate experienced big man on the Celtics roster, he has been forced to play in the middle and has played well.

Garnett has experienced an offensive rebirth since the All-Star break, and the Celtics are a quicker team with him at center and Brandon Bass at power forward. Previously Garnett had started at power forward and Jermaine O’Neal, battling years of injuries, plodded at center.

The quickness has made the Celtics a better defensive and rebounding team, and Garnett likes that. But he doesn’t enjoy the center position.

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“It’s nothing I haven’t done before,’’ he said before Saturday night’s 98-91 loss to the Nuggets. “Purpose-wise I enjoy forward just because of the agility and the different matchup problems that I [create]. But 17 years, there’s nothing I haven’t seen.’’

McGee debut on hold

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Nuggets fans were denied the opportunity to see JaVale McGee make his Denver debut against the Celtics, as the trade with the Wizards and Clippers was not yet official. McGee was acquired from the Wizards along with Rony Turiaf, with Nene going to the Wizards and Nick Young going from the Wizards to the Clippers. Brian Cook moved from the Clippers to the Wizards.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said a change of scenery will be good for the erratic McGee, who has dominated games against the Celtics defensively, but now is known for his mental lapses.

The Nuggets are expected to buy out Turiaf, and he could be a candidate to join the Celtics.

Pierce, ankle OK

Paul Pierce showed no effects from his sprained right ankle. Pierce tweaked the ankle Friday stepping on the foot of Sacramento’s Marcus Thornton while setting a screen . . . The Celtics have Sunday off before playing Atlanta Monday.

Gary Washburn can be reached at gwashburn@globe.com.