Celtics' Garnett: 'I have to be better'


Celtics' Garnett: 'I have to be better'

CLEVELAND There's plenty of blame pie to go around the Boston Celtics locker room if you're trying to figure out who to pin this latest defeat on.

For some players, there's a legit question as to how bad they really want to win or conversely, avoid losing.

And then there's Kevin Garnett who is so desperate now in his search to help the team win, he is starting to make the kind of mistakes that you seldom see him make.

In Boston's 95-90 loss, there was a sequence that was such an anti-Garnett moment.

There was a sequence on Tuesday in which Cleveland's Tristan Thompson just blew past Garnett for a dunk, and moments later he let a pass from Rajon Rondo just sail in front of him, out of bounds.

Garnett, who at his best just plays the game, appeared at times to be too deep in thought, seemingly trying to figure what he could do to help a teammate instead of just playing the game.

During the C's rougher-than-expected season, Garnett has challenged both himself and his teammates to look within themselves first and foremost in trying to figure out how to get this team on track.

For Garnett, those soul-searching moments have yet to reveal the solution that he's so desperately seeking to discover.

"I don't know man; I don't know man. I want it so bad," Garnett said. "I have to find a balance. Some of the things I messed up on tonight, that's not me.

Garnett added, "I have to be better. I have to do better. I have to be more effective for 48 minutes, regardless."

He finished with 16 points on 5-for-13 shooting, along with five rebounds, three assists, a steal and a season-high five blocked shots.

It was a game in which Garnett delivered yet another good, but not great performance.

And as he sat inside the Celtics locker room, pulling his hoodie back for a minute or so, it was clear that the frustration of what has been a season of struggles, was getting to him.

Not because of the losing; but because up to this point, there was very little that he could do to prevent it from happening.

And there lies the challenge, within the challenge. Garnett has to figure out what he can do to help the C's be more successful, but not allow that search-and-discovery mission take him down a path in which he makes more miscues for trying too hard to make everything better.

"You can find yourself wanting this a lot to the point where you mess up and make mistakes," Garnett said. "It's a human game. You gonna make mistakes. I just have to be better, period. No excuses. No (bleep). I have to be better, period."

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Following Thursday’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics will be on the prowl to rebound – literally – from its first defeat of the season.

Because for all that did not go right in Thursday night’s loss, the way Boston was beaten on the boards stands out emphatically.

“They got 24 more shots than us. We only turned it over (12) times,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss. “So that’s the obvious place they’re getting their possessions, on the glass. That’s going to be the number one thing, that has been the number one thing. It’s something we’ve talked about. We have to get better at it.”


Boston was out-rebounded 55-36 on the boards which heavily factored into Chicago’s 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.

In the Celtics' 122-117 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday, Boston won the overall rebounding battle 47-44, but had just 12 offensive rebounds compared to Brooklyn's 15 offensive boards. Despite the close margin, the Nets won the battle on the offensive glass running away, outscoring the Celtics 23-13 in second-chance points.

Stevens decided to start Tyler Zeller ahead of Amir Johnson to begin the third quarter, hoping Zeller would be a better matchup on the glass than Johnson who did not grab a single rebound in the 11 minutes of court time he got in the first half.

While Zeller did do a few good things on the glass and scoring in half-court sets, it wasn’t enough to swing the momentum Chicago was steadily gaining due to its ability to control the boards.

“I wasn’t real surprised but at the same time I knew it could happen,” Zeller told reporters, referring to Stevens’ decision to have him start the second half. “They did a good job of coming out and setting the tone. They beat us up on the boards, especially the first half. It’s something we have to get better at and continue to grow at.”

And it’s not a one-player or one-position issue, either.

Usually we think of bigs when it comes to rebounding. But Boston’s guards need to step up their rebounding game as well.

The struggles thus far have to be put in the context of this being just two games, the latter being the season opener for the Bulls who were jacked up more than usual due to it being the first game for Chicago native Dwyane Wade and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

“We have to focus on boxing out,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Guards have to do a better job. Guys like me, Al (Horford), Amir (Johnson), Tyler (Zeller) ... We have to do a good job of coming in the weak side and grabbing those; just focus on it, pay more attention to detail.”