Garnett goes cold in Game 4

191544.jpg

Garnett goes cold in Game 4

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON On some nights, Kevin Garnett can still be the best player on the basketball court.

On others, not so much.

The Boston Celtics got the latter on Monday, as Garnett's struggles contributed to the Celtics losing a heart-breaking 98-90 Game 4 matchup in overtime to the Miami Heat.

With the loss, the C's trail the Heat 3-1 in the best-of-seven series that now shifts back to Miami, where the Heat can close out the C's on Wednesday.

Garnett, who was unstoppable in Boston's Game 3 win, turned in arguably the worst playoff game of his illustrious Hall of Fame career.

He finished with just seven points, missing 9 of his 10 shots from the field -- the worst Garnett has ever shot from the field in a playoff game.

"I didn't have the rhythm I had the other night," a somber Garnett said following the loss. "I was expecing them to make some adjustments."

Miami did just that by sending an occasional double-team or tilting a defender towards him from time to time.

As impressive as the Heat's defense may have been on Garnett, his struggles were deeper than that.

On far too many possessions, Garnett fell back into the mentality of a facilitator instead of someone looking to score.

"They trapped him a couple times, and I thought he was probably looking more for traps," said coach Doc Rivers. "He was looking to be a passer to me, more than being an aggressive scorer."

One of the many strengths of Garnett's game is his willingness to get others involved in the scoring.

But there are games when the C's count on him heavily to carry the load as a scorer.

Game 3 on Saturday and Monday's Game 4 were a couple of those games.

Reasons for Garnett's struggles are plentiful. One might be that he was too tired and worn down to make an impact after having so little time in-between games. Another would be the always reliable, "He's too old."

Making matters worse, Garnett's struggles occurred on the same night that the man he lit up in Game 3, Chris Bosh, went off for 20 points and 12 rebounds. None of Bosh's plays were bigger than his tip-in with 24.2 seconds to play in overtime, which put the Heat ahead by five points.

When asked about Bosh's game, Garnett would only answer with, "Next question."

It was a fitting response, when you consider his play will raise a number of questions for the Celtics as they head into Game 5 at Miami on Wednesday.

Which Kevin Garnett will show up? The one that dominated Bosh in Game 3 or the one that was a no-show in Game 4?

Are Garnett's struggle because he's old, injured, or some combination of the two?

While those are all trendy topics to discuss, there's only one question that Celtics fans want to know.

Do the C's have enough confidence to go into a hostile environment like Miami and come away with a victory?

"We've never lacked confidence, and when our backs to the wall we've shown great resilience," Garnett said. "We'll see what we're made of."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Zach Lowe’s most recent podcast is worth a listen, as it features plenty of talk about what the Celtics may or may not due ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Lowe brought up the possibility of the Celtics top-1 or top-2-protecting Brooklyn’s first-round pick and including it in a deal for Butler. He surmises that the inclusion of the Brooklyn pick -- protected or not -- might not come until the final minutes. 

“Look, if Butler gets traded or if Paul George gets traded, that’s when it’s going to happen,” Marc Stein responded. “It’s going to happen in the last five to 10 minutes, so Boston has to make a decision, and let's see if they’re doing the math that they’ve had these assets for a while and it is time to do something bold and the time is now. Really, I think Boston will do it. The question is what will Chicago or Indiana do? And those are two hard reads.” 

Stein spoke to the Celtics’ lack of activity at certain points, but he said that if the C’s do fail to come away with a star player Thursday, it won’t be for lack of aggressiveness. 

MORE TRADE TALK

“I think the Celtics are taking criticism for waiting, and they’ve had all these assets they haven’t moved yet, but I think the record shows that Danny Ainge in general, in total, is very aggressive, not afraid to roll the dice, not afraid to make the aggressive move,” Stein said. “So I have less doubt about Boston saying, ‘Let’s just do it.’ I have far more questions about what Chicago and/or Indiana would do.” 

Lowe said that he imagines the Bulls would “think about” trading the C's Butler if Boston threw in the Nets’ pick unprotected, but added that Chicago would demand to also take two players out of Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. 

“I think that will be the offer and they’ll get there and Chicago will either have a moment where they say, ‘We walk away or we’ll do it.’ And Boston’s not going to throw in the other Nets pick,” Lowe said. “That’s just not going to happen.”

Rating the aforementioned foursome in terms of trade value, Lowe said that Crowder is the best piece because of his “ridiculously good” contract, followed by Brown, Smart and Bradley. 

Lowe added that he considers Bradley one of the “sneaky interesting pieces at this trade deadline” because his contract is up after next season, which is the same time that Isaiah Thomas’ contract expires. Lowe says that given the uncertainty of his future in Boston, he wouldn’t be overly surprised if Bradley is moved at the deadline. 

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Will the Celtics part with the right to Brooklyn’s 2017 first-round pick in order to get a star before Thursday’s trade deadline? 

MORE TRADE TALK

Citing a pair of NBA executives, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote this week that Danny Ainge’s willingness to trade the pick should be in doubt.

Sola named Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and Paul George as potential targets, adding that the C’s might include the latter.   

Wrote Isola: 

Two executives doubt that Ainge, who historically plays it close to the vest, would give up the Nets pick in a deal for Butler. However, Ainge might consider it in a trade for George, the Pacers-free agent-to-be who has expressed doubts over re-signing with the Pacers.

‘With Danny, no one ever knows what he might do,' said the executive. ‘He's one of the best. If he thinks he can make a run at the Cavs this season, considering all the injuries Cleveland has had, I can see him making a move.

‘Everyone is talking about Butler to Boston but Danny and Larry Bird go way back. Paul George could be the sleeper.’

This season, the 26-year-old George is averaging 22.3 points 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game.