Garnett gets aggressive, scores vs. Pacers

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Garnett gets aggressive, scores vs. Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS One of the things that has made Kevin Garnett such a great player for so many years, has been his selfless approach to the game.

But looking to help his teammates isn't always the best thing for the team.

Balancing that eye for getting others involved while getting his game going is something Garnett admits he has struggled with this season.

Celtics head coach Doc Rivers' incessant nagging of Garnett to be more aggressive offensively seemed to have finally sunk through as Garnett had a season-high 21 points in Boston's 97-83 loss at Indiana.

The scoring was impressive, but Rivers was even more pleased that most of Garnett's points came around the basket as he frequently jostled for the best inside position.

"We established a post game, finally, after whatever amount of games we played. So I was happy with that," Rivers said.

Garnett had 13 of his 21 points in the first half, which ended with the Celtics trailing by eight points.

Turnovers certainly factored in Boston's second-half struggles. After committing seven turnovers in the first half, the C's coughed the ball up 11 times in the second.

But just as significant was the fact that the ball didn't go into the post as much to Garnett as it did in the first half.

"We got away from it," Rivers said. "Third quarter, we shot a lot of jump-shots. I told them before the game, back-to-back nights is not a jump-shot night. Everything is going to be front of the rim."

And Garnett isn't the type to demand the ball, regardless of whether he's having a good night shooting the ball.

That's where Rivers and his incessant demands for Garnett to think more like a scorer, come into play.

"People that know me, my personal friends that know me, my basketball game is very similar to how I am in life," Garnett said. "I'm a giver first. I like to make sure everything around me is comfortable. That's no different from basketball. Here, I look to get Ray (Allen) and Paul (Pierce), those guys open. So I need coaches every now and then just to tell me, 'Hey, look for your own every now and then.' ''

First-place Celtics continue to focus on playing well, not standings

First-place Celtics continue to focus on playing well, not standings

WALTHAM, Mass. – When it comes to NBA standings, no Celtic pays closer attention to it than Isaiah Thomas.
 
But the 5-foot-9 All-Star is quick to say that while he’s aware of what’s happening with other teams record-wise, Thomas, like his teammates, isn’t obsessed with it, even with the Celtics (48-26) now in first place in the East following Cleveland’s loss at San Antonio on Monday.
 
“It’s a good feeling,” Thomas said. “It’s still not the end of the year; anything can happen. It’s a nice feeling to be the number one seed for once, but we just have to continue to control what we can control.”

The fact that Boston is even in position to finish with the best record in the East is amazing when you consider injuries and illnesses have forced them to use 13 different starting lineups this season.
 
And the preferred starting five of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Al Horford and Amir Johnson has played together 31 times and posted an impressive 24-7 record.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been consistent in his message that while having the best record in the East is nice, he’s more consumed with the team continuing to improve.
 
“It doesn’t mean a whole lot right now,” Stevens said of being in first place. “The whole idea is to make progress, get better every day and stay in the moment. You do that if you’re in last place trying to build up or whether you’re in a position where you’re fighting for seeding. Ultimately, we’ve been able to grow and get a little bit better. But I still think we can play a lot better. That’s where my focus is.”
 
And the same holds true for his players. Thomas knows how unusual this season has been for the Celtics, who continue finding ways to win despite frequently being short-handed.
 
The latest example of that involves forward Jonas Jerebko, who is questionable for Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee because of a sore left knee that limited him in Tuesday’s practice.
 
“It’s a long season. A lot of things can happen whether they be good or bad and we know that,” Thomas said. “We just try to withstand the storm we’ve had a few times this year, and continue to try and stay as positive as possible and we’ve done that. We’re in a good position right now. We just have to continue to take care of business.”
  
And that means steadily improving while piling up the wins, particularly against teams such as the Bucks (37-36), who are among a handful of teams that could potentially be Boston’s first-round opponent.
 
Milwaukee comes in having won 11 of its past 14 games.

“It makes the game that much more important,” said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. “Just like the Miami game. We want to let the teams know now, they go up against us in the playoffs, it’s no mercy. We’re going to play hard. We’re going to bring it every single night. We’re going to play Celtics basketball every single night. Them knowing that, we can scare a lot of teams if we’re playing the right way.”

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics have spent most of this season playing short-handed and Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee will potentially be another one of those games.
 
Veteran forward Jonas Jerebko has a sore left knee and is considered questionable for the Bucks’ game.
 
“Jonas went through about half of [Tuesday’s] practice,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
 
Jerebko has missed two games this season due to illness.
 
Because of Milwaukee’s length at seemingly every position, Jerebko’s ability to play both forward positions will be something the Celtics will surely miss if he’s unable to play.
 
This season, Jerebko has appeared in 69 games while averaging 3.9 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 35.0 percent on 3’s.