Garnett approaching Ewing on all-time scoring list

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Garnett approaching Ewing on all-time scoring list

BOSTON -- Kevin Garnett would take the basketball and disappear. Down the street to a different place in his neighborhood . . . and in his mind.

As Garnett closes in on passing Patrick Ewing for 16th in scoring in NBA history, the big man went back to a time when he cared more about the ball in his hand than in the basket.

"I used to get up early in the morning and just dribble," he said prior to the Boston Celtics game against the Charlotte Bobcats. "As I got older, I continued to keep that skill with me. Dribbling used to do something for my mind for some reason. It was like reading a book. I could get lost in dribbling. Before you knew it, I had gone up three blocks, didn't even know where I was. Some people use drawing or reading a book, I would take my ball and just kind of get lost in the neighborhood, so it was kind of like my therapy, if you will. I just never lost that skill. I inadvertently kept it."

Garnett needs 14 points to pass Ewing's career total of 24,815. He was unaware of the mark, and was not going to alter his game plan to reach it. Scoring was always more of an obligation than a priority.

"When I was young I watched for blocks because I was always taller than a lot of the kids, assists, because I was a huge Magic (Johnson) fan coming up," he said. "I really wasn't into the points because the majority of the people around me wanted to score, put the ball in the basket. I was no different from that, but I always took a liking to trying to do everything, if not want to be good at everything . . . (Scoring) was something I had to do. If you're the biggest kid out there, at some point everybody expects you to score the ball. I had to get off all the passing the ball, stealing the ball."

Garnett has averaged 19.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game over his 18-year career. His role has changed since his days as a non-stop dribbler, but he can still hold his own. How would he compare to Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo?

"Rajon is a point guard. I'm above average size," Garnett noted. "Obviously he has splendid ball handling, but he's not 6-11. He's more like 5-11-ish."

Garnett will shape his game to fit the needs of the Celtics, whether the team leans on him for scoring, rebounding, or a combination of his versatile skills. If it were up to Garnett, he would post a stat line that encompasses everything he loves about the game.

"(My) ideal game would be 30 points, 30 rebounds, 15 blocks, and 10 assists with a Celtics blowout," he said. "That's an ideal game."

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics to make qualifying offers to Sullinger, Zeller

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Report: Celtics to make qualifying offers to Sullinger, Zeller

The Celtics will make qualifying offers to Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller by the Friday deadline, the Boston Herald reports.

With offers of $4.4 million to Sullinger and $3.7 million to Zeller, the two will become restricted free agents, meaning the Celtics have can match any offer sheet they sign. The two would have become unrestricted free agents without the qualifying offers.

Sullinger could take the offer to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, but the Herald reported Zeller would likely be looking elsewhere to find a bigger role after his playing time decreased last season.

Sullinger started 73 games and averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in the regular season. He averaged 5.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in 13.5 minutes in the first-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks and lost his starting job two games into that series. 

Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds last season. He played in three of the six games in the Atlanta series. 

OFFSEASON

Celtics' ace in the hole in pursuit of Durant: Brad Stevens

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Celtics' ace in the hole in pursuit of Durant: Brad Stevens

Kevin Durant is hanging out in the Hamptons waiting to be wooed by six NBA teams, including your Boston Celtics.

(Wait, this just in: A seventh party has entered the sweepstakes. Kelly Ripa, a fellow Hamptonite has requested to pitch KD on becoming her co-host. “It’s LIVE with Kelly and KD!” It flows.)

Today Durant meets with his current team the Oklahoma City Thunder. What the hell is anyone going to say in this meeting? “Hey, KD. Anything new since we saw you a month ago, when you couldn’t make a shot in the clutch against the Warriors?”

Seriously, what can OKC tell the guy about their team that he doesn’t already know? He could have just stopped by the GM’s office on his way to the Hamptons. But, in this day and age of the power player, all must bow to him. Ah, what the hell. I would probably do the same thing.

I have a gut feeling about OKC and Durant. He wants out. If not this year -- because it looks like he's going back to the Thunder for one more season -- than the next. Is it the small town? Is it that Russell Westbrook could bolt next season to the Lakers? Is it coach Billy Donovan?

Ahhh ha! That’s what I’m going with.

I've always read that Durant loves the fans in OKC. He has never seen like a “big city” guy to me, or someone who has to live in South Beach or Manhattan. Kevin Durant has always seemed to be about basketball and that’s why I think he has man love for Brad Stevens.

I have this moment during the playoffs when OKC was playing the Warriors engrained in my brain. Durant commits a stupid mistake out of frustration that results in a turnover and a Warriors hoop. On the sideline, Billy Donovan chews his ear off for what seemed forever.

That was a mistake. Billy the Kid needed to realize he wasn't in Gainesville anymore. Remember, Billy is chip off the old Rick Pitino coaching block. Both love to talk and love to coach.

That can work against you in the NBA.

Brad Stevens, who is a better coach than Donovan, would never do that. Heck, Brad rarely shows up a rookie on the sideline. He's smart enough to know if a veteran like Durant errs because he's mad, nothing needs to be said. Players like Durant, LeBron or Steph know when they screw up.

I can see Durant talking basketball with Brad for hours, I mean, leave the room at lunch and come back after dinner and you'd find the two still jawing about everything from calling plays after time outs to Texas’s prospects next year.

I know Danny Ainge sat next to Durant’s mother during the tournament and was fined for it. Still, it was a very nice touch and it certainly made an impression on KD.

But the real reason, in my opinion, that he's thinking about Boston is Stevens.

Now if the Celtics can sell on him on playing with Jaylen Brown, they have a real shot.

Good luck with that.