Garnett will try to adapt to what new season brings

563504.jpg

Garnett will try to adapt to what new season brings

By now you know Kevin Garnett.

You know the intensity he brings to the court, the skill he displays in the post, and the leadership he provides in the locker room.

But you haven't seen Garnett play much of the center position in his career, basically, because he isn't one. He's got too much skill outside of the paint. This season, though, he's going to mix it up a bit. The C's are thin at the five, and KG is willing to fill in.

"I've been in this league like I said now coming on 17 seasons," Garnett said to CSNNE's Mike Gorman "There ain't too much I haven't seen. The five position is no different to me the four. As long as I'm on the floor, as long as I'm able to contribute, I could care less where I'm at."

Whether it's the five or the four, Doc Rivers has stressed once again to Garnett that he needs to shoot the ball more. It's not uncommon to see KG pass the ball to a teammate as opposed to offensively taking over a game.

"Working on that," KG said with a smile.

"I like to do the small things, get guys open, the dirty work, try to cover the board from all spectrums. I try to bring a presence to the game. Doc has a way he would like me to be versus who I am, and sometimes those clash. But he's the captain of this ship and I try to fulfill what he needs me to do. If that means shoot the ball more that's not necessarily shooting the ball more, it's being more aggressive is what I think the message he's sending to me.

"He always says you have to give up a little bit of the game for the betterment of guys on your team, and I'm the perfect example of that."

Since the arrival of Garnett, many other players have come and gone. One thing the core group has had though is chemistry. It's getting the new guys on the same page on and off the court that Garnett worries about more than on the court.

He essentially says that there have been players who have bought in and players who haven't, but when it comes to him, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce, there's no chemistry loss there.

Those three could also be in their last season together. Instead of pretending like it's not the case, the Big Three are embracing it.

"It's reality, it's reality," Garnett said. "I think we all understand the significance of it. Not just that, but being with Doc. We're happy that he's got his situation out of the way and he's been here. All those things factor in to whether we're going to try and do this. But for this most part, yeah, this is the reality of it. When you look at all the things that are on the board or on paper sort of speak it could possibly be our last hurrah. More importantly, it's what we're going to do with it."

While this lockout-shortened season could be their last together, it certainly will be a tough one.

Asked about the compacted schedule, Garnett was quick to visibly show a sense of worry about it, followed by a deep breath. The schedule will call for rest in-between games, and that's something KG will have to get used to.

"If you know anything about me, resting is the one thing other than eating I don't do well. I don't know, my mind is always working.

"Looking at the schedule, the schedule is tough. I think it's going to be more of a -- obviously a physical grind -- but more mental than anything. if anybody has ever worked out in sand and stuff, it ain't the actual hill, the workout, that's the biggest dilemma, it's the mental part of getting through it."

But how much will the physical play in to the mental? Tired legs are tired legs, there's nothing you can do about it but rest. But in a season where rest is hard to come by, the C's could be in trouble.

As KG makes another face -- clearly visualizing it in his head -- he's not about to use it as an excuse.

"Our schedule is no different than anybody else's in the league. It's tenacious, it's crazy when you look at it, but it's something that everybody has to deal with."

Celtics-Magic preview: Orlando's poor offense gives C's chance to bounce back

celtics_jae_crowder_120516.jpg

Celtics-Magic preview: Orlando's poor offense gives C's chance to bounce back

Talk about your basketball extremes.

After losing a 107-106 heartbreaker to Houston and their high-powered offense on Monday, the Boston Celtics will be in for a very different -- and less successful -- foe tonight in the Orlando Magic.

The Magic beat Washington 124-116 on Tuesday night despite John Wall’s 52-point effort, but have been one of the NBA’s most offensively challenged teams this season.

Orlando ranks near the bottom in scoring (29th, 94.6 points per game), field goal percentage (28th, .426) and Pace (24th, 96.71) this season.

But Frank Vogel’s crew has been a defensive force thus far in the East even if their record might suggest otherwise.

They rank among the league’s best in several defensive categories such as scoring defense (4th, 98.0 points per game allowed); opponent 3-point percentage (3rd, 33.0 percent), opponent 3-point attempts (4th, 23.6) in addition to allowing a league-low 8.0 made 3's per game.

That will be a stark contrast from the let-it-fly-all-night style Boston had to contend with against the high-scoring Rockets on Monday.

But this set of games is exactly why Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made of point of trying to put together a roster that was heavy on athleticism and versatility both in the frontcourt as well as on the perimeter.

Against Houston, Tyler Zeller recorded his first DNP-CD (Did not play -- coaches decision) of the season which made sense considering Houston basically plays void of a traditional center.

Orlando, that’s a different story.

Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic now coming off the bench form a physical triumvirate of big men that can cause lots of problems for a Celtics team that will look to attack the paint often.

When it comes to scoring in the restricted area, the Magic allow opponents to shoot 57.6 percent which ranks seventh in the league. They rank highly when it comes to defending mid-range shots (5-10th, 38.3 percent), corner 3's (6th, 34.5 percent) and above-the-break 3's (8th, 33.8 percent) as well.

And while they have had their issues offensively this season, their recent run of success has been in part aided by a much-improved offensive showing. In their last five games, they are shooting 48.5 percent from the field which ranks fifth in the NBA in that span. For the season, the Magic rank 28th while connecting on 42.6 percent of their shots.

Orlando’s improved shooting with a defense that’s stingy as ever, will make this a tough game for Boston to come away with a victory.

Just as the Magic seek to continue their successful ways, the Celtics come into this game with something to prove as well.

While the missed lay-ups by Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas in the final minute of Monday’s 107-106 loss certainly were factors in the game’s outcome, there were a series of miscommunications earlier in the quarter that fueled Houston’s late surge.

Following the game, Isaiah Thomas pointed out how he called out a play that Jonas Jerebko interpreted as another play the Celtics called.

The miscommunication led to a turnover and subsequent lay-up which in hindsight looms huge considering the margin of victory was just one point.

“The two play calls sound alike,” Thomas told reporters afterwards. “In the heat of battle, I have to do a better job of making sure everybody knows what play we’re running. He (Jerebko) handed the ball back to me when the play wasn’t to hand the ball back to me. That was one of the turnovers that was the key.

Thomas added, “It’s not his fault. As a group, as a point guard, I have to do a better job of letting my guys know what play we’re running. Those little things, especially on the road, those make you lose games. But that wasn’t the play that made us lose. I’m not putting this on Jonas at all.”

Indeed, this team’s success as well as their struggles are the collective efforts of all their core players, Thomas included.

And for them to get back on track, it won’t be one or two players that will make it happen.

It’ll be a team effort, the kind that will allow Boston to find success against different teams no matter how extremely different their styles of play may be.