Garnett comes through in the clutch for Celtics

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Garnett comes through in the clutch for Celtics

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- For nearly 44 minutes, the Boston Celtics watched Carmelo Anthony score 42 points and have his way at the basket without any regard for their defensive efforts.

It took Kevin Garnett just nine seconds to take that all away.

On Tuesday in Game 2 of the first round series between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, it was Garnetts turn to change the outcome. Ray Allen had hit a game-winning three-pointer two days earlier, and this time Garnett took care of it in the paint.

In a game with 22 lead changes, Garnett slammed a dunk from Paul Pierce with 1:14 left in the fourth quarter to put the Celtics up, 92-91. But the Cs fell behind by one with 19.3 seconds to go after Jared Jeffries scored on a layup.

Coming out of a timeout, Rondo inbounded to Garnett, who worked Jeffries down in the paint and converted on a hookshot with 13.3 seconds remaining.

I really wasnt in a nice rhythm, to be honest, Garnett (12 points, 6-16 FG, 10 rebounds) said after the game. I was just taking what he was giving me. Ive been in this situation before a couple times. I think earlier he had got a poke from the back, when you poke the ball, and that wasnt going to happen twice. So I just remained calm, went to a shot that I know I can make.

On the next trip down the court, Garnett stripped the ball from Jeffries under the Knicks basket and called timeout with 4.4 seconds remaining. The Celtics regained possession and Delonte West hit free throws to ice the 96-93 victory, giving the Cs a 2-0 lead in the series.

Kevin Garnett doesnt remember making his final play of the game, but the Knicks will. In a frenzy of intensity, his basketball instincts took over and his burning desire to win controlled his body.

You know whats crazy? I barely remember anything about tonight, he said. I just know I had a steal and at that point Im just reacting more than anything at that point, to be honest. Nothing more, nothing less than that.

While Garnetts defense is unwavering, Tuesday his offense on Tuesday was not consistent for the majority of the game. He had shot just 3-for-10 through three quarters. Part of the Celtics strength, though, is their confidence in one another - and the fortitude of the players to come through in the clutch.

Thats why Doc Rivers didnt hesitate to get Garnett the ball in spite of his stat line.

Listen, KG struggled a little bit offensively but like I said the other day with Ray, we trust all of our guys, he said. We drew up the play and it was for Kevin or Paul Pierce. If they tried to deny the ball to Paul, I told Rondo, then that means that Kevin has to be open because theres only a certain amount of bodies on the floor. They did try to deny Paul which allowed us to get a deep post for Kevin. Rondo made a great cut so they couldnt double team - he was the only guy under the basket. They double teamed - he was sitting there by himself.

Garnetts tear in the final seconds of the game gave the Celtics a critical lead as they travel to New York for Games 3 and 4 this weekend. They head to Madison Square Garden fueled by the efforts of one of their leaders.

Kevin, hes our spirit. He plays as hard as anybody I know and he did what he does best. Thats be the energy guy, get out there, make things happen with this intensity on defense and offense, said Glen Davis.

Its good to get buckets like that. When you go all the way back to when we won it, Kevin was hitting game-winners all the time. So that kind of reminds me of the first year that we won it. So its a good feeling to know that Kevin is getting in the post and making himself a serious threat. And thats what we need him to do down the stretch.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

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All-Stars, studs and duds: Westbrook's reign as MVP comes to an end

All-Stars, studs and duds: Westbrook's reign as MVP comes to an end

NEW ORLEANS – You don’t rack up triple doubles at a historically ridiculous rate the way Russell Westbrook does without being able to dish out an assist from time to time.

The biggest assist he made in the 66th annual NBA all-star didn’t make its way on to the stats sheet.

But it was historical in so many ways.

Westbrook’s advice to Anthony Davis on how to win the game’s MVP award was indeed taken to heart with Davis winning the award following the Western Conference’s 192-182 win over the East All-Stars.

Davis finished with a game-high 52 points, shattering the previous mark set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

Davis won the MVP award after Westbrook had won it each of the two previous All-Star games.

Prior to the game, Davis said he did do a little lobbying among his fellow all-stars in the locker room.

“I stressed that, I think more than enough, to the guys in the locker room before the game that I wanted to get the MVP for this crowd, for this city, and I ended up doing it.”

Following the game, Westbrook acknowledged that he did speak with Davis about how to win the MVP award.

When asked about what he said, Westbrook replied, “I’m not going to tell you, but he did a good job and got it done.”

Despite not winning the MVP award, Westbrook had a dominant game of his own as he tallied 41 points which was one point shy of the previous record.

But after the game, it was clear that he was more pleased with the performance of Davis.

“It was great,” Westbrook said. “It’s definitely always a great thing to do, especially here where he plays in front of his fans, his family. It’s a great experience and definitely happy for him.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the 66th annual NBA all-star game.

 

STARS

Anthony Davis

The hometown team’s best player delivered a scoring night for the ages, finishing with an All-Star record 52 points on 26-for-39 shooting to go with 10 rebounds. The previous record of 42 points was set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

Russell Westbrook

His All-Star reign as the game’s MVP came to an end after having won the award the previous two All-Star games. He finished with 41 points.

 

STUDS

Giannis Antetokounmpo

He was an above-the-rim monster, scoring 30 points primarily on a dozen dunks.

Kevin Durant

He was filling up the stat sheet in several categories for the West, finishing with a triple-double of 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Kyrie Irving

Arguably the best performer for the East, Irving had 22 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas

There were others who had a more prolific night shooting the ball, but Thomas’ impact off the bench was indeed felt. He led all East reserves with 20 points.

James Harden

The bearded one had a triple-double as well, although not the kind he would prefer. Along with scoring 12 points, and dishing out 12 assists, Harden also racked up a game-high 10 turnovers.

 

DUDS

None

There were some guys who didn’t do much statistically, but with this being such an exhibition-like event, putting too much stock in any player’s performance is a waste of time. They are among the top 24 or so players in the NBA. No amount of missed shots or turnovers will change that fact.