Garnett: 'This is where all the plastic people melt'

972957.jpg

Garnett: 'This is where all the plastic people melt'

SACRAMENTO Kevin Garnett would love it if the Boston Celtics had one of the best records in the NBA right now, steamrolling over foes like they did back during the C's 2008 championship run.

But this Celtics team is far from being that dominant; not even close, truthfully.

However, these troubled times for the Celtics have a bonding affect that in a weird way, Garnett kind of likes.

He has always been about the team. And these are the times when those bonds are put to the ultimate test as the C's find themselves at or near their lowest point in the season following Sunday's 118-96 loss to Sacramento.

"These are dog days," Garnett said. "This is really where you really see who's with you. Ain't nobody cheering, ain't no lights on us and I love this right now. Because this is where all the plastic people melt right here."

And those that have the mental toughness to fight through this rough patch, will stand out.

"We gotta play better," Garnett said. "We gotta have some self pride in ourselves. Gave up 100 and something points three games in a row, and it ain't been close. We gotta at some point take it personal, you know?"

And don't think for a minute that Garnett is pointing fingers at any particular player or players on the C's roster.

When asked about the Celtics' overall effort, Garnett refused to go Dr. Phil-like on the subject and instead brought the conversation back to who he knows best - himself.

Even though Garnett is winning the popularity vote among Eastern Conference big men with what may likely be another All-Star appearance as a starter, he sees plenty of room for self-improvement.

And he's hoping that his 14 teammates all take a similar approach to the next few days without any games on the docket until a home game Jan. 2 against Memphis.

"Like I said, look at themselves in the mirror including myself and better what I can do," Garnett said. "And try to figure out what I can do better to help this team."

For starters, the Celtics could be more mentally tough, something that is among the many things that separate this team from the C's squads in recent years.

"We built something here," Garnett said. "I'm not living in the past or nothing, but the reason why guys came back ... is because of what we built here and what we're known for, to defend. For some reason we got away from that, so we have to go back to our origins and figure it out."

Indeed, the Celtics seem too consumed by playing well offensively. So when it doesn't happen, the defense in a word, sucks.

"Everybody shows up to compete," Rivers said. 'But I think a little bit of frustration breaks certain guys - not every guy - but it doesn't take but one or two a game. And the frustrating thing this year is it's been different guys. A guy will get frustrated because he's not making shots. I think a lot of it is that. If our offense isn't working, our defensive spirit goes down and we end up losing the game."

Rivers added, "guys get frustrated and they give in. We have to figure out how to fix that. Guys get frustrated and they start hanging their head and then their compete level goes down."

And throughout the course of a long season, there are going to be games like that from time to time.

But it has been like that throughout the bulk of this season for the Celtics.

And while they maintain that there's still a lot of season left to be played, at some point the C's have to turn the corner.

Otherwise, all the dreams and hopes they had for this season will be just that - dreams and hopes with no shot at ever being fully realized.

And the road to redemption for the Celtics begins this week, one man at a time.

Sandoval 'starting from scratch' after career had 'fallen into an abyss'

Sandoval 'starting from scratch' after career had 'fallen into an abyss'

The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is underway as the former World Series MVP tries to revive his career after two disastrous seasons with the Red Sox organization.

In an interview with ESPN Deportes, he admits to being “complacent” during his first two seasons in Boston after signing a five-year, $95 million deal. 

"My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished," Sandoval said. "I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be."

After dealing Travis Shaw to the Brewers, Sandoval is expected to be the Red Sox primary third baseman in 2017.

"I am not taking anything for granted," he said. "I am here to work hard. I'm not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field."

The 30-year-old says he’s following a “really strict routine” this offseason, and it shows. In a recent photo, Sandoval appears noticeably thinner. Sandoval says his wife giving birth to “Baby Panda” has served as inspiration.

"Watching 'Baby Panda' grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that's my motivation every day," Sandoval said. "The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson."