OFFSEASON

Celtics look to fire up Garnett's post game

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Celtics look to fire up Garnett's post game

BOSTON It was, on paper at least, just another typical Kevin Garnett kind of game.

But Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers knew better.

Most games, Garnett's numbers only tell part of the story in terms of his impact. In the case of Boston's Game 6 loss, numbers explained his lack of impact.

He had 20 points and 11 rebounds, but not a single basket came around the basket.

And Garnett didn't provide much from the free throw line either (he was 2-for-2), which is another barometer of sorts for how successful Garnett is at affecting the game in the post area.

"We never really established Kevin Garnett," Rivers said following the 82-75 loss. "Even though Kevin had points, it wasn't the points we needed, the type of points. So we have to do a better job there (going into Game 7)."

Garnett was 9-for-20 shooting against the Sixers in Game 7, with all nine made baskets coming on jumpers of at least 12 feet away.

The Sixers have tried multiple strategies to limit Garnett's impact in this series.

"They were aggressive," Garnett said. "Multiple players were aggressive. But it's nothing we haven't see in six games."

One of the key players in defending Garnett of late has been Elton Brand, who struggled mightily early on in this series but seems to be getting better as the series goes on.

"He's been playing so great in this series, just try to limit his easy shots," Brand said of Garnett. "Twenty field goal attempts, 20 points, shot-per-point for any guy that shoots a lot during the game, that's what you want."

Philadelphia's defense on Garnett is essentially about pushing him as far off of where he wants to catch the ball in advance of the pass getting to him. From the Sixers' perspective, they hope that will deter him from looking to score around the basket and his teammates from seeking him out in the post.

The Sixers had moderate success on both of those particular fronts in Game 6.

As Game 6 proved, forcing Garnett into being a perimeter scorer is the best way to defeat the Celtics.

There's little doubt that after reviewing video from the Game 6 loss, the C's will look to make some adjustments to their offense.

Ball movement was a major problem, evident by the Celtics tallying just 14 assists -- the fewest they have had in a playoff game this season. Part of the ball movement issue stems from Boston committing a high number of turnovers (17) that led to a significant (19) portion of Philadelphia's offense.

"We'll make some adjustments offensively, and be ready for Game Seven," said Paul Pierce.

Getting the ball to Garnett, in the post more?

Yeah. You can rest assured that will become one of the team's top priorities heading into Saturday's winner-moves-on Game 7 battle with the Sixers.

OFFSEASON

Celtics are anything but "a middle of the road team"

Celtics are anything but "a middle of the road team"

Charles Barkley said Friday that the Boston Celtics are a "middle of the road team in no man's land." Kevin O'Connor joined Greg Dickerson on Sports Tonight and explained just how foolish of a statement that is.

Make sure you watch the video above, but here are some of the key stats O'Connor mentions regarding the state of the Celtics.

Competitive teams rarely select at the top of the draft, but the Celtics have already done it before and could again in 2017 and 2018. Over the last 40 years, only 10 teams have won at least 45 games and used a top five pick in the draft. Here’s the list:

PLAYER TEAM WINS YEAR PICK
Greg Ballard Washington 48 1977 4
Mychal Thompson Portland 58 1978 1
Magic Johnson LA Lakers 47 1979 1
Kevin McHale Boston 61 1980 3
James Worthy LA Lakers 57 1982 1
Charles Barkley Philadelphia 52 1984 5
Sam Bowie Portland 48 1984 2
Len Bias Boston 67 1986 2
Darko Milicic Detroit 50 2003 2
Jaylen Brown Boston 48 2016 3

Two of those teams won a single championship (Washington and Detroit). Two became dynasties (Boston and the Lakers). Four of the players are Hall of Famers (Johnson, McHale, Worthy, Barkley). You’ll also find Jaylen Brown, who could be a cornerstone even if we don’t know it yet.

If they play their cards right and the Nets struggle as much as everyone expects them to, they’ll be right back in the conversation for another star next season. Due to their tremendous flexibility, that could happen through the draft, the trade market, or free agency.

For more on this topic, click here.

OFFSEASON

Carroll: Crowder doesn't understand what it takes to win in playoffs

Carroll: Crowder doesn't understand what it takes to win in playoffs

Celtics forward Jae Crowder recently said, “Toronto is not a team we’re worried about,” and Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll thinks that's a silly comment to make.

“It’s a comment from a person who hasn’t really been in the playoffs that much. That’s how I reacted to that type of comment. When you haven’t been on that level and you don’t understand what it takes to get to that level. Myself going to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals, I understand what it takes,” Carroll said on SportsNet.ca. “It’s a comment from a guy who hasn’t been on that level, who hasn’t played on that level. It sounds like a young comment.”

The Raptors won 56 games last season and went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals before falling in six games to the Cavaliers, so Carroll is right that he’s speaking from experience.

But you can understand the confidence Crowder has. After winning 48 games last season, the Celtics just landed Al Horford, and they have repeatedly said they’re not done making moves. So perhaps their roster will look even better on Opening Night than it does right now.

Carroll doesn’t care about that though.

“We’ll let Jae Crowder do all the talking,” Carroll said. “We’ll just fly under the radar and do what we’re supposed to do.”

The Celtics went 1-3 versus the Raptors last season. They better hope they perform better next season, or Carroll might be the one talking.

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics 'won't give up much' for Okafor

Report: Celtics 'won't give up much' for Okafor

Just recently, CSNNE.com's A. Sherrod Blakely laid out a compelling case why the Celtics are far more likely to trade for Jahlil Okafor than make a blockbuster for Russell Westbrook or Blake Griffin.

But, apparently, they're not willing to give up a whole lot to get him.

According to Keith Pompay of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Celtics have concerns about Okafor's off-court problems, including two incidents in Boston, and "will not give up much" to get him:

"[The Celtics] have concerns about his playing in the city after being involved in two street fights there in the early hours of Thanksgiving morning. Nor do they like the fact that the center saw a gun pointed at his head in Old City and that he was stopped for going 108 mph over the Ben Franklin Bridge."

Pompay reports the Sixers "are determined to receive equal value in any trade," which -- if the Celts actually are hesitant to bring Okafor on board -- would seem to make Okafor-to-Boston unlikely. Especially since, in the words of NBC's Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin, "Okafor would fit with the Celtics -- the guy can score inside and rebound, valuable NBA skills -- but he’s not the game-changer they need. He’s okay. He’s not the answer."

Or perhaps the two sides using the media to lower/raise the price tag.

Stay tuned.