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.

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

BOSTON – This continues to be a historic season for Isaiah Thomas as more records fell in Wednesday’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee, and the company he’s keeping becomes even more exclusive. 

Thomas had a game-high 32 points on Wednesday which included five made 3’s on nine attempts. That gave him 223 for the season which is a new franchise single-season record for made 3-pointers. The previous record was 222 set by Antoine Walker during the 2001-2002 season.

And his 32 points scored gives him 2,012 this season. 

Only six players in franchise history (Paul Pierce was the last to do it during the 2005-2006 season) have scored 2,000 or more points in a single season. 

Oh, there’s more. 

With Wednesday being the 66th time this season he has had 20 or more points, Thomas has now tied Pierce (2005-2006) and Larry Bird (1985-1986; 1987-1988) for sixth on the Celtics’ single-season franchise list. 

“I didn’t even know that,” a visibly disappointed Thomas said following Wednesday’s loss. “It doesn’t feel that good right now. But when I look back on it, probably in the offseason, I’ll appreciate it a little more. But I’m just staying in the moment and try and play as best I can to lead this team to as many wins as possible.”

Other season milestones Thomas is in the mix for include the following:

  • The 5-foot-9 guard is one of three players this season to have 50 or more games of 25-plus points, joined by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (57) and Houston’s James Harden (54).
  • Thomas has made at least one 3-pointer in a franchise-record 50 straight games (Dec. 3 – March 29). That’s also the longest current streak in the NBA. 
  • With 66 games of 20 or more points this season, Thomas is second in the NBA to Westbrook (67).

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

BOSTON – One of the more bizarre plays in Boston’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee came in the second quarter, requiring some explanation from the officials afterwards. 

With 3:55 to play in the second quarter, the officials had originally called a foul on Marcus Smart which he verbally protested that eventually led to him being whistled for a technical foul. 

After the officials reviewed the play, they changed the call to a personal foul against Khris Middleton but no change to the called technical foul against Smart who objected to a call that, upon review, they agreed was the wrong call to make. 

Official Sean Corbin, through pool reporter Ken Powtak of the Associated Press, acknowledged that the original call was a loose ball foul against Smart. 

“The (officiating) crew got together, we met prior to video and we decided that we needed to look at video because both players were on the floor bleeding so we went to the video for a hostile act,” Corbin told Powtak. “In the review we noticed that Khris Middleton initially made contact to Marcus Smart’s face. That’s how the original contact to the play occurred.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, Middleton missed his technical free throw while Smart split a pair of free throws which cut Milwaukee’s lead to 49-40.

Still, that’s no consolation for Smart who was whistled for a technical foul on a play that the official acknowledged was the wrong call to make. 

In the fourth quarter, Smart was at the center of yet another controversial call that was also reviewed by the officials. The verdict wasn't nearly as good for Smart who was whistled for a flagrant foul after getting his feet tangled up with Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo who was called for a non-shooting foul in the play with 4:46 to play. 

Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws and on the Bucks' ensuing possession, he was called for traveling.

Smart was unavailable to talk after the game in part because the aforementioned incident left an abrasion to his mouth and, because of the technical foul, a little lighter in the wallet as well.