Celtics hoping to involve Garnett more in Game 2

Celtics hoping to involve Garnett more in Game 2
April 21, 2013, 2:15 pm
Share This Post

NEW YORK — Win or lose, the Celtics were going to see Game 2 against New York as a game in which adjustments would be needed.

One of the more glaring areas the C's will surely look to address will be doing a better job of getting the ball to Kevin Garnett. That doesn't necessarily mean more shots for Garnett. More than anything it means the C's will turn to the veteran big man to be more of a facilitator offensively.

Throughout what has been a Hall of Fame-worthy career, Garnett has shown the ability to be an NBA version of a five-tool talent who could score, rebound, defend, pass and make the players around him better.

But far too often in Game 1 against the Knicks and for stretches during the regular season, the Celtics were too focused on one or two of those areas, which doesn't allow Garnett to be the all-around talent that produces impressive numbers across the statistical spectrum.

"We have to play through Kevin a lot more," said Paul Pierce. "He is one of our best passers, one of our most unselfish players. We have to do a better job of just getting him the ball a lot more than he got it (in Game 1)."

In Boston's 85-78 Game 1 loss to New York, Garnett had eight points on 4-for-12 shooting. He only took five shots (he missed four of them) in the second half which was indeed a factor in the game's outcome.

"We have to involve him more," Doc Rivers said. "There's a better way to do it than the way we did it. There's certain things that he didn't do, either. We just have to do a better job."

Added Pierce: "Doc wants Kevin to be aggressive, to take 20 shots. Even if we run plays for Kevin, he's so responsible that he'll find the open man and be responsible with the ball."

Of course getting Garnett the ball requires the help of others. In Game 1, there was indeed a willingness to get Garnett the ball almost to a fault. There were a couple of different passes to Garnett that left Rivers and his staff shaking their heads as to what they had just witnessed.

"They saw Kevin and they wanted to get him the ball so bad almost," Rivers said.

There was a cross-court pass that Rivers said, "I don't think I've ever seen. And one was a half court (pass) to the post. Those are just passes that we can't make."

As much as those around Garnett have to elevate their play in terms of getting him the ball, he realizes better than most that he too must step up his game.

"I had shots and stuff; some went down, some didn't," Garnett said. "I could be a little more aggressive but be consistent with the overall game."

If he can do that, it puts added stress on the Knicks, opens things up for his teammates and maybe most important, allows Boston a better shot at evening up this series before it shifts to Boston for Games 3 and 4 at the TD Garden.