Celtics' Garnett: 'I have to be better'

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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."

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics host the Hornets at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

BOSTON -- The last time Boston saw the Charlotte Hornets last month, both teams were streaking in the wrong direction with each coming in having lost three in a row.

Both come into tonight’s game streaking, although in two very different directions.

Boston (25-15) has won 12 of its last 15 games to firmly establish itself as the third-best team in the East behind Cleveland and Toronto. Meanwhile the Hornets (20-20) are on the cusp of falling below .500 for the first time this season after losing their last four games.

Still, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen enough of this Hornets team to know that a win tonight won’t come easily.

“This is a good team,” Stevens said. “We all know Charlotte. They don’t beat themselves. We’ve had to play really well against those guys. This is going to be a tough one, as we all know.”

Figuring out why these two teams are trending in opposite directions isn’t all that complicated.

For the Celtics, their success of late has hinged heavily on their ability to make 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s problems have had a lot to do with a tough slate of road games (all four of their recent losses were on the road) and their inability to make shots which has been an issue in some form for them all season regardless of the opponent.

Look at the last four games, all of which the Hornets lost while the Celtics won three of their four games in that span.

The Hornets rank 21st in scoring with a 101.5 points per game average while the Celtics average 110.8 points which ranks 8th in the league.

Charlotte ranks dead-last in the league the last four games when it comes to shooting the ball (40.5 percent), while Boston comes in 18th at 46.0 percent.

But it’s the 3-point shot and its impact on having an effective field goal percentage, that really separates these two.

Boston has averaged a league-best 15.3 made 3-pointers in the last four games while the Hornets and their 9.8 made 3’s ranks 20th.

And as far as its impact on eFG%, Boston comes in with the eighth-best eFG% in the league (54.8 percent) while the Hornets next-to-last in the NBA with an eFG% of .462.

So what does that mean tonight?

Boston will look to continue being fueled offensively by good ball movement and attacking the rim which in turn should result in lots of good looks from 3-point range which is clearly a strength of this team.

Charlotte will search for other sources of offense besides former UConn star Kemba Walker who is on the short list of candidates for a spot on this year’s Eastern Conference all-star roster.

As was the case in Charlotte’s 102-93 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, an off-night shooting for Walker (17 points, 7-for-23 shooting with three assists) left the Hornets extremely vulnerable to defeat. Similar struggles tonight will provide a similar ending for Charlotte which would allow both teams to continue streaking along … something the Celtics wouldn’t mind at all.