Kevin Garnett grabbed Kevin McHale for one of those all-out KG hugs, the sort that wrap even a man McHale’s size in a tight embrace and come from deep in Garnett’s always overflowing emotions.
All that they had shared through all of the years since Garnett was McHale’s teenaged protégé might have powered that moment together, but for McHale, a very long, very difficult day ended with a very good win and a reminder that some things are still much bigger than the score hanging high above them.
The Rockets had given McHale the sort of win he could cherish; at least for the few hours an NBA coach will allow himself to cherish any win. They had finished a week that had begun with them blowing fourth-quarter leads by owning the Celtics down the stretch on their way to a 101-89 win on Friday at Toyota Center.
They had defended through most of the game as McHale wanted and ran on offense as they must. But when McHale left the court, tears welling in his eyes, he had shared time and emotions with Garnett and the Celtics for the first time since his daughter Sasha’s death last month.