The AP (Howard Ulman) reports: Maybe Garnett won’t win his second most valuable player award. Most stats favor Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Chris Paul. But if there were an MIP award for Most Intense Player, the leader most responsible for the Celtics’ record turnaround would have all the qualifications. He is the best player on the team with the NBA’s best record. He’s led the Celtics to the biggest single-season turnaround in league history, breaking San Antonio’s record 36-game improvement. And he’s the inspiration for a hard-working team that leads the NBA in point differential and lowest opponents’ field goal percentage.

The AP continues: “Look at the team. Look at the team’s record. Look at the turnaround,” Ray Allen said. “I think he’s probably the more unselfish guy in the NBA (of the top MVP candidates) that’s made his team better. It’s not just the offensive perspective.” Last season the Celtics were 24-58, their second worst record for a franchise that has an NBA best 16 championships. After trading for Garnett in the offseason, they are 64-16 after a 99-89 win Saturday night over Atlanta, their likely first-round playoff opponent.