BOSTON A more assertive, more aggressive Kevin Garnett was in the building Wednesday night for the Boston Celtics.
And when he shows up, the Celtics usually don't lose.
That was indeed the case on Wednesday as Garnett led the way in Boston's 100-94 overtime win over Washington.
Garnett, who was encouraged by C's head coach Doc Rivers to be more assertive, took Rivers' words to heart at both ends of the floor.
He finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds, with most of his board work -- seven rebounds, actually -- coming in the game's first quarter which set the tone for a strong start for Boston.
Following the victory,Rivers talked about some of the players who put forth great effort and displayed strong leadership skills.
"Kevin, always, I always exclude him because he always plays the right way," Rivers said.
In addition to his scoring and rebounding, Garnett was also a bit more attentive to Washington big man Kevin Seraphin.
When the two teams played on Saturday, Seraphin had 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting from the field.
Although Seraphin had another 19-point scoring game on Wednesday, he did so on 8-for-19 shooting.
In addition to Garnett playing a more well-rounded game, here are some other keys to Boston's win identified prior to the game and how the C's fared in those areas.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Boston's first win of the season came on a night when they jumped on the opponent (Washington) with a 17-2 run behind suffocating defense and timely scoring. Being the aggressor at both ends of the floor will once again be a key to the C's beating the Wizards again.
WHAT WE SAW: Boston came out the aggressor once again, putting together a strong showing defensively with an efficiently-run offense to bolt out to an 11-2 lead.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: The Celtics bench vs. Jordan Crawford: Had it not been for an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game, Crawford (21 points in 25 minutes) may have single-handedly outscored the entire C's bench. That should never happen. Jason Terry is more than due to have a breakout game. Ditto for Jeff Green.
WHAT WE SAW: Boston's bench was better while Crawford had problems most of the game. He had not practiced since suffering a left ankle sprain against the Celtics, and it showed. In 15 minutes, he had just two points while missing five of his six shot attempts.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Courtney Lee has been OK, but an intangibles player like him tends to have a breakout performance when you least expect it. With the Wizards wanting to limit Paul Pierce from having another big game, and withstand the strong play of Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo, it seems an ideal scenario for Lee to be an unexpected difference-maker.
WHAT WE SAW: Lee had another nondescript game for the Boston Celtics. He didn't play all that bad, but it wasn't the kind of performance that will get you all lathered up with excitement, either. He's clearly still trying to figure out where his shots will come from, and the reality that there will be fewer attempts and thus a greater premium on him to make the ones he gets to take. He finished with just two points -- from the free throw line -- while missing all three of his shot attempts.
STAT TO TRACK: Doc Rivers loves to keep the Celtics turnovers to 13 or less per game. In Saturday's win, the C's turned the ball over just nine times. That was a significant improvement compared to the first two games in which the Celtics turned it over an average of 17 times per game.
WHAT WE SAW: Boston's turnover numbers were higher than what Rivers likes to see, and those miscues factored heavily into the game being a lot closer than the Celtics would have liked. Boston turned the ball over 19 times which led to 18 points for Washington.