Love: Garnett 'does whatever he needs to do' to win


Love: Garnett 'does whatever he needs to do' to win

BOSTON -- It has been five years since the Boston Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team with which he spent his first 12 seasons with and stayed loyal to through thick and thin.
Time has passed, Garnett has won a championship, and the Timberwolves have moved forward with Kevin Love at the helm.
Garnett shrugged off the significance of playing against his former team -- "absolutely not," he responded when asked if the Timberwolves bring out more in him than other squads -- but that doesn't mean his successor has any less of a challenge on his hands when the Celtics and Timberwolves meet.
On Wednesday, Garnett posted his fifth double-double of the season with 18 points (8-13 FG, 2-4 FT), 10 rebounds, and four assists during the Celtics 104-94 win.
How did Love describe Garnett's performance?
"Being Kevin Garnett," he said succinctly.
Love was drafted in 2008, one year after Garnett's departure. Now in his fifth season, he has been countered with a zoned-in veteran each time. Garnett entered the game averaging 14.3 points (60.9 FG), 10.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in six meetings against his former team.
"Hes intense," said Love. "Hes KG. Hes a guy that defensively hell clamp on you. He didnt leave me when he was out there more than once tonight, really clamped in. I think he hit big shots early, set the tone, set screens, and pokes and prods and elbows and jabs."
Garnett shot down the theory that he played with an extra spark because of his opponent. Rajon Rondo noted Garnett "plays well every time" against the Timberwolves but suggested asking Garnett himself for the reason. Paul Pierce has his own thoughts on the matter.
I think hes just accepted the challenge of playing against the top players, such as Kevin Love, in the game," said Pierce. "Hes recognized as one of the better power forwards and when Kevin (Garnett) matches up with him, he really takes on the challenge whether he was playing in Minnesota or somewhere else."
Following the game, Garnett focused his attention on the Celtics aggressiveness and defensive energy in their win. He spoke on trying to slow down Love and being efficient on the court. Amid a long list of what he went right in the game, none of the items included a personal victory against his former team.
That's part of the reason why it was easy for Love to characterize Garnett's game.
"He does whatever he needs to do in order for his team to win," said Love, "and that sums up Kevin Garnett to me."

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner


Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.