Garnett gets better of Love

Garnett gets better of Love
March 31, 2012, 4:43 am
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MINNEAPOLIS Kevin Garnett is pretty fired up all the time. So the idea of him being even more amped up than usual, is a little scary.

But consider this:

He was returning to where he spent more than a decade as the face of Minnesota Timberwolves basketball.

Garnett would be matched up against Kevin Love, who has been getting lots of attention and praise of late for putting up ridiculous numbers scoring and rebounding.

Sprinkle in the fact that Boston needs every win it can get to keep moving up the playoff seeding charts, and it adds up to a motivated - very motivated - Kevin Garnett.

And that motivation was more than enough for Boston to continue on its winning ways with a 100-79 victory over Minnesota, his former team.

Boston's defense was stifling for most of the night, with Garnett leading the charge.

Garnett also got it done offensively, scoring a game-high 24 points to go with 10 rebounds for his team-leading 17th double-double.

He was especially clutch in the fourth, scoring back-to-back baskets after Minnesota cut Boston's lead to 10 points.

"It was just a situation where I know Kevin (Love) doesn't play a lot of defense," Garnett said. "He does get a lot of rebounds and shoots a lot of threes. I felt like I had the advantage and I took it. It wasn't nothing more than that."

Even if he was more pumped up than usual, "he won't tell you that either way," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "You know that. But I think everyone's up when they come back. And I think the other guy is up when the last guy, comes in."

On Wednesday, Garnett faced a Utah Jazz team that featured former Celtic Al Jefferson, who was part of the trade that brought Garnett to Boston and sent Jefferson to Minnesota. The C's beat the Jazz by 12 points and Jefferson - like Love on Friday - had a less-than-stellar performance against a motivated Garnett.

"I think KG took it personal tonight," said Timberwolves forward Anthony Tolliver. "I'm sure he's been hearing a lot of stuff that Love is the best power forward in the league and everything else. One night doesn't change it, but he's a competitor and we knew he (Garnett) was going to come in here and bring it straight to Kevin (Love). He (Garnett) had a great game. He's a veteran; he knows what to do and how to win. He looked like his old self tonight."

Said Garnett: "If you know anything about me, I was more than ready and prepared tonight."

And with Garnett having won the head-to-head matchup with Love and the C's getting the win, this will likely slow down some of the comparisons that have been made between the two.

"My time has passed (as the face of Timberwolves basketball)," Garnett said. "It's Kevin Love's time, and I understand that."

That maybe so.

But it can't change the fact that as good as Love is now, Garnett is still widely viewed as the greatest player in franchise history.

"He (Garnett) was the face of the franchise, and I think always will be," Garnett's former coach in Minnesota, Flip Saunders, told CSNNE.com. "Any time you talk about Minnesota, KG and Minnesota pretty much go hand-in-hand."