Garnett: 'The tech shook up the dog house'

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Garnett: 'The tech shook up the dog house'

BOSTON It doesn't take a lot to get Kevin Garnett any more motivated than he already is on game nights.

Hit him with a technical?

Yup. That'll do it.

Garnett has been surprisingly cool, calm and collected all season -- at least by KG standards, anyway.

But in Wednesday night's 102-96 win over Milwaukee, we saw a glimmer of the old fire-breathing Garnett when he and second-year big man Larry Sanders had a few uh, words for one another that resulted in both being whistled for a technical foul with 6:23 to play in the second quarter.

"Sometimes you need a little swift kick in the (expletive) I thought the little tech, it shook up the dog house, as we say," Garnett said.

Garnett was scoreless at that point in the second quarter.

But after the tech, Garnett had four points and an assist in the quarter.

"It gave me a little energy," said Garnett, who finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds for his team-leading ninth double-double this season. "Don't take much."

Garnett's focus remains no different now than it has been since he became a Celtic in 2007 -- find a way to win.

And he's doing so with a solid season that's getting very little attention or fanfare.

"As far as the year, I'm just trying to give my team an edge," Garnett said. "I've been going through some personal problems of late, but I'm good and I'm back; looking at life a little different, beat up and all that, just giving all I have. I'm nothing more, nothing less than that."

The "personal problems" Garnett mentioned led to him missing two road games (at Detroit and Dallas) earlier this season, both of which the Celtics lost.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers recognizes that much of Garnett's solid play this year has indeed gone unnoticed, while the talk of him being past his prime persists.

"It's amazing, 'Kevin's old, Kevin's this' it's all you hear," Rivers said. "And no one looks at his numbers."

This season, Garnett is averaging 14.9 points and eight rebounds which are almost identical to the numbers he posted last season.

And while those numbers are below his career averages, often forgotten about is that Garnett's playing time has been significantly reduced.

The 35-year-old veteran is averaging 30.8 minutes played which is about six minutes below his career average.

"It's not like Kevin is playing a ton of minutes," Rivers said. "He's still putting up numbers."

Making his play even more surprising has been it has come with the veteran being relatively injury-free other than the usual bumps and bruises that come with a long -- and this year, contracted -- NBA season.

When asked about Garnett's durability, Rivers quickly responded, "I'm not talking about that; stay away from that subject."

Belichick explains matching in the secondary

Belichick explains matching in the secondary

FOXBORO – Here’s a leftover from last week I’m dredging up because it’s really instructive in giving insight to something we all flap our arms about: how the Pats decide whether to play zone, man-to-man or match receivers with their secondary.

The jumping off-point was asking about Trumaine Johnson -- a long-tall corner for the Rams. As Belichick about Johnson and the difficulties he poses, at 6-foot-2, it brought to mind the team’s acquisition earlier this season of Eric Rowe. The 6-2 corner they got from the Eagles filled a need in that the Patriots other corners are not very tall, headlined by 5-9 Malcolm Butler.

So I asked Belichick if the team strives to have different sized players in the secondary.

“That’s if you move them around,” he explained, meaning size only matters if you intend to put size-on-size. “If you don’t move them around, if you play a guy at one positon and he plays on the right side or the left side, you cover the guy that’s over there, which I’d say is more the situation than not. There are some teams or some situations where you’ve got him, he’s got the next guy, you’ve got somebody else, but I’d say that’s by far the lower percentage of the plays, by far. Generally, you see a corner play – some games are different. We’ll match to this guy and somebody else matches to that guy. Teams will do that. There’s some of that, but by and large, most teams play at one position and whoever is in that spot, that’s who they cover.”

With matching receivers being the exception rather than the rule, the next logical question is why? Why would you let a little guy cover a big guy if you also have a big guy who could cover?

Because offenses make it complicated, Belichick answered.

“The easiest thing in the world is for one player to match another,” he explained. “‘OK, you go cover this guy.’ Alright, great. But what do the other 10 guys do? That’s the problem. It’s easy to matchup one guy. That’s simple. What do the other 10 guys do? What if he’s here? What if he’s there? What if he goes in motion? What if he’s in the backfield? What if it’s this personnel? What if it’s that personnel in the game? Then how does all the rest of it matchup? That’s where it gets tricky.  You can be spending all day, literally, on that. OK yeah, you take this guy but what are you going to do with the other 10?”

Belichick also delved into other options including a coverage concept the Pats used when Darrelle Revis was here. Giving Revis the opponent’s so-called No. 2 receiver and doubling the No. 1.

“You can matchup and put your best guy on their best guy, or you can matchup and put your best guy on let’s call it their second best guy and put your second best guy on their best guy and double him,” Belichick said. “If you’re going to put your best guy on their best guy and double him anyway then you kind of lessen the matchups down the line. It’s like setting a tennis ladder, or whatever. If you put your bad guy at one and you win two through seven, great. If you put your best guy at one and he gets beat by their one and then your two versus their two, you know. That’s what you’re doing. You have a three to four-man ladder there with the receivers and your DB’s [defensive backs], except we don’t have to match them that way. You can match them however you want.”

It’s a fascinating discussion and it comes into play the next two weeks as the Patriots will see a true test with receivers like the Ravens Steve Smith and Denver with Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas.

The Patriots will have decisions to make. Chances are they’ll use a little bit of everything. But these are some of the the things they weight when doing so.

Players, analysts weigh in on Chris Sale trade

Players, analysts weigh in on Chris Sale trade

The Red Sox made a major splash with Tuesday’s Chris Sale, the second swap of the day after acquiring Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers. 

MORE ON THE TRADE

While Boston had to give up top prospect Yoan Moncada and three other legitimate prospects in the trade, the deal gives them a very deep starting rotation that figures to see last offseason’s big acquisition -- David Price -- end up as Boston’s No. 3 starter. 

Here’s what the reaction looked like as the trade came down: 

CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni gave the deal his stamp of approval. 

Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan cautioned against thinking the Red Sox at a discount. 

Blake Swihart was not one of the four prospects involved in the deal, and he’ll have a heck of a team to work with going forward. 

In Tampa, Chris Archer realized the AL East has a new ace. 

And one Sox fan pointed out that Dave Dombrowski has absolutely dumped out what was once a large and top-heavy chest of prospects.