Garnett continues to turn back clocks with vintage game


Garnett continues to turn back clocks with vintage game

MIAMI Kevin Garnett was nowhere to be found following Boston's 115-107 win over Miami.

Not to worry.

Garnett has a thing for showing up right on time for the C's, which against the Heat, meant the fourth quarter.

The 6-foot-11 veteran was having a pretty good night leading up to the fourth, but took his game - and with it, the C's - to another level in leading them to victory.

Garnett had 24 points for the game on 11-for-14 shooting. He was especially impressive in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting.

"That's what he does," said C's center Greg Stiemsma. "That's K.G., all day. We will take those looks any time he can get them, and he can get them whenever he wants. It gets us fired up."

Garnett was a central part to a blistering shooting performance by Boston, an unexpected development considering the Heat have one of the NBA's top 10 scoring defenses and field goal percentage defenses.

"That is a tough loss," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team allowed the C's to shoot 60.6 percent from the field. "None of us were expecting that, to give up 115 points on our home floor. That's not our style."

But what the C's are showing of late, is how difficult they are to matchup with now that Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley are in the lineup.

Bass' ability to hit 15-20 foot jumpers meshes well with Kevin Garnett's pick-and-pop game. And Bradley's ability to cut to the basket and at various angles towards the rim, has caused fits for a number of teams - the Heat included.

But with so many players stepping up for the Celtics, Garnett's play stood out even in comparison to Rondo's 18-point, 15-assist night.

And you could tell that Garnett was into this one more than usual, with him waiving off Stiemsma to replace him on one occasion.

Rivers acknowledged it was tougher than usual to get Garnett off the floor like they normally do.

"His minutes were low, but he was going in that 12 minutes in a row stretch which we try to avoid with him, " Rivers said. "But we had to keep him out on the floor."

Even as Paul Pierce was delivering a slew of big shots through three-plus quarters, he too recognized Garnett had the hot hand and so that's what the C's rode down the stretch.

"We kept giving him the ball and he just kept coming through," said Pierce who had a team-high 27 points. "He's on a wonderful stretch. The last 20 games, he's been playing just unbelievable."

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics put on defensive clinic in second half

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics put on defensive clinic in second half

This season the Boston Celtics have shown flashes for a few minutes here and there that they were an elite team defensively. 
But what they did in the second half to the Orlando?
Boston (13-9) put on a defensive clinic that overwhelmed the Magic on every level imaginable as the Celtics cruised to a 117-87 thumping of Orlando.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has been even-keeled when it comes to discussing his team’s play, win or lose. 
But even he couldn’t contain how pleased he was to see the way his players defended in the third and fourth quarters. 
“On defense, the second half was as good as we’ve guarded all year,” Stevens told reporters afterwards. “Really focused, really urgent. I felt good about that.”
Setting the tone for the Celtics was Avery Bradley who certainly was impressive with his scoring. 
But as much as he knew the team would need a boost offensively with Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out, that wasn’t his approach to the game. 
“I had a defensive mindset coming into tonight’s game,” Bradley told CSN’s Abby Chin following the win. “Just trying to get my teammates to playing the right way so we could come out and get the ‘W’ tonight. I’m happy with how all the guys played. We all played hard, and we played as a team.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Wednesday night’s game.

Avery Bradley

Bradley picked up the scoring with Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out for Wednesday, leading the team with a game-high 23 points to go with four rebounds and three assists.

Jaylen Brown

Arguably the biggest spark off the bench for Boston, Brown had one of his best games as a Celtic. He finished with 13 points which included a dunk over Nikola Vucevic that quieted the Amway Center crowd and just as important, provided a nice energy boost for Boston.
D.J. Augustin

He had the hot hand at the end of the second quarter, but was a non-factor in the second half as Augustin finished with 15 points – all of which came in the first half. 
Terry Rozier

This was a great confidence-booster for Rozier as well as his teammates to see him have a big game and make the most of his increased opportunity to play. He finished with a career-high 16 points off the Celtics bench on 6-for-13 shooting with five rebounds.
Nikola Vucevic

It doesn’t matter if he starts or comes off the bench. Vucevic is always a double-double threat on the floor. He finished with 12 points off the bench along with 10 rebounds for his 13th double-double this season. 

Orlando second half defense

The Celtics got pretty much whatever they wanted, when they wanted it in the second half against the Magic defense which pulled a major disappearing act. Boston shot 61 percent from the field in the second half, and 45.4 percent from 3-point range. 

Belichick on Long's sack: One of the best defensive plays of the year


Belichick on Long's sack: One of the best defensive plays of the year

It came against a rookie quarterback. It came against an offense that averages a league-worst 15.0 points per game. It came against an offense that has fewer yards than any other. 

Still there are signs that Bill Belichick is pretty pleased with where his defense is after beating the Rams 26-10 on Sunday. One came on Wednesday when published its "Belichick Breakdown" for a closer look at a handful of plays from the team's most recent win.

Belichick called his team's third-and-eight stop with about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter "probably one of the best good, team defensive plays we've had all year."

The Patriots show a five-man front, but linebacker Kyle Van Noy feigns a rush only to drop into coverage.

"Van Noy in here does a good job on the rush," Belichick said, "and also on the coverage on the back. Just good team defense. Good pass coverage down the field. The quarterback really doesn't end up having a lot of time, but there's no one to throw it to right away."

Belichick noted that all four rushers -- Chris Long, Trey Flowers, Dont'a Hightower and Rob Ninkovich -- all are able to pressure Jared Goff on the play. Combined with strong coverage in the secondary, the Rams nver really had a chance.

Belichick said it looked like a "tidal wave" of defenders bearing down on the quarterback.

"Long wins here . . . on the inside spin," Belichick said, "and Trey Flowers and Hightower both win on the little twist game inside. Then that's Rob with good speed-to-power on [Rams tackle Rob] Havenstein on the outside. Four good rushers. Plus a fifth guy...Van Noy getting that two-for-one on the guard and the back.

"Good team defense. That's great to see. A lot of hard work an execution on the practice field to make that happen."