Garnett still major influence on former teammates Perkins, Davis

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Garnett still major influence on former teammates Perkins, Davis

ORLANDO, Fla. Throughout Kevin Garnett's career, he has made himself an available fountain of wisdom for any young big thirsting for knowledge on how to play the game the right way.

This week brought him face-to-face with a couple of his "young (Luke) Skywalkers" who are no longer with the Celtics - Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins and Orlando's Glen Davis.

Both are with teams that look to them for leadership, the kind of leadership that each has often said was taught to them in part by Garnett via his word and his actions.

After Boston's 116-110 win over the Magic on Sunday, Garnett acknowledged that he speaks with both players every week to week and a half.

"They are still my young guys," Garnett said. "I always consider them my young Skywalkers, my young Jedi's so to speak. They are in new places and may have new identities but have the same work ethic, new personnel, new responsibilities. I always preach to them this is growth."

That growth has Davis, whose maturity was at times an issue in Boston, now in a position of leadership as one of the Orlando Magic's co-captains.

"When you're in a young environment and a new organization where they are expecting things out of a winner, you have to bring that and that's the consistency and discipline of being a professional," Garnett said. "You don't get to pick and choose when you want to be. It's a way of life. I like to always promote that, preach that to them. It's important for them to understand that."

Following Orlando's loss to Boston on Sunday, few took it harder than Davis who had 15 points and seven rebounds but missed nine of his 12 shots from the field.

Davis was particularly critical of his play down the stretch in which the Celtics scored eight of the final 10 points in overtime. During that stretch, the Magic missed seven of their eight shot attempts which included a pair of misses by Davis.

"At that time the leader is supposed to step up," Davis said. "Jameer (Nelson) and everybody else did a good job. I was nowhere to be found tonight. You're not going to make every shot; at crunch time you've got to do something. I didn't do anything."

Davis added, "I let my team down. They played extremely hard. This is on me I think. I don't care what anybody says. It could be played here but if I come to play we'd beat them."

The disappointment that Davis speaks of is what most leaders have to deal with on a regular basis.

"He's in sort of a new situation, and I know it's going to be frustrating moments (for Davis)," Garnett said. "But I tell him, 'you don't get a day off. You have to be the example, and it's not by what you say but what you do.' And in days you don't want to do it, you have to come in here and do it anyway. Days when you having a trashy day from family and every other type of distraction off the court, gotta put it to the side, come in here and focus in and do your job."

Which is exactly what Garnett has done throughout his career, which includes solid performances in wins over Perkins' Oklahoma City team on Friday and Davis' Orlando club Sunday night.

"Those are my young brothers," Garnett added. "Although we have to play one another, I root for them. That's just the relationship we'll probably always have.

Said Perkins: "At the end of the day, it's a lot of love and respect on both ends."

Young Bruins ‘acquitted themselves well’ in preseason debut

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Young Bruins ‘acquitted themselves well’ in preseason debut

BOSTON – It was an excellent night for the many varied Bruins prospects in the preseason opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The B’s eventually dropped the game in a 3-2 shootout loss at TD Garden, but not before some of their young players showed exactly what they can do.

“For sure it’s a lot of fun. Coming in here everybody’s a little nervous, but it was, once you’re out there, it’s just fun. It was good to see the young guys out there,” said former University of Denver standout Danton Heinen, who scored the tying strike in the third period on a redirect. “It was definitely adjusting. You don’t totally know what to expect and then once the game went on I kind of felt a little more comfortable. We started playing better as a team.”

Former first-round pick Jake DeBrusk set up the B’s first goal with Jimmy Hayes by executing a nifty give-and-go at the Columbus net, and young skaters Jakub Zboril and Austin Czarnik made the initial transition passes that led up to the goal. In the third period Danton Heinen redirected a Brandon Carlo point shot from the slot area, and scored in his first career game played at TD Garden in an impressive show of hand-eye coordination.

Carlo, Czarnik, DeBrusk, Zboril and Heinen all had strong performances on the score sheet and at both ends of the ice, and that’s exactly what the Bruins coaching staff wanted to see with NHL jobs potentially up for grabs in main camp.

“A lot of young players in the lineup, I won’t go through all of them, but I thought quite a few of them acquitted themselves well,” said Bruins assistant coach Bruce Cassidy. “They were given opportunities to do that. I think some of them certainly took advantage of it, and did a nice job.”

It was good that the young players stepped up and made a nice impression in the preseason debut because the veteran players will cut into their opportunities once the World Cup of Hockey crew gets sprinkled into the mix starting this week.