Boston Celtics

Garnett goes cold in Game 4

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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

Brown ready to embrace role with new-look Celtics

Brown ready to embrace role with new-look Celtics

BOSTON – Like most of us, Jaylen Brown watched intently as the Boston Celtics overhauled their roster in a way in which no one on the payroll could untouchable.

Armed with the number one overall pick in last June’s NBA draft, the Boston Celtics traded down two spots to pick up a wing player (Jayson Tatum) who plays the same position as Brown.

Later on, the Celtics traded away Avery Bradley to Detroit.

Soon after, Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas were Cleveland-bound in a deal that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston.

Things have changed, quickly.

MORE: Celtics storylines: Who fills out the starting lineup?

But being a high-profile high school player who spent one year in college before entering the NBA, Brown is well-versed on how to adapt quickly to new surroundings.

Brown might find himself getting used to yet another new role as an NBA starter this season.

When training camp opens next week for the Celtics, there will be at least two positions in the starting five up for grabs courtesy of Bradley and Crowder being in Detroit and Cleveland, respectively.

Thomas’ starting job will be handled by Irving who will be joined in the starting lineup by Al Horford and another new face to the Celtics roster, Gordon Hayward who signed a four-year, $127.8 million contract with Boston this summer after having spent his first seven NBA seasons in Utah.

Brown said he hadn’t put too much thought into all the changes that Boston was making this offseason.

“I knew a lot of stuff was going on and it was a lot of changes but it was above my pay grade,” Brown said. “Right now my job is to come in and play basketball and leave the politics up to the front office and you guys. It had nothing to do with me. I just try to come out and play hard, and try and be the best person and basketball player. . .  I can be. I try not to think too much of it.”

But it’s hard to ignore the possibility that he could be in the starting lineup on opening night, an opportunity he will have to earn with his play in training camp.

“(Head coach Brad Stevens) is going to do whatever he feels is best for the team and I support that,” Brown said. “Whatever it is that he decides, is what he decides. But I’m here, I’m available and I’m ready to work. It’s going to be a good year.”

The possibility that Brown could be in the regular starting lineup in his second season isn’t all that unusual for a player taken with the third overall pick in the draft.

But unlike most rookies, Brown wasn’t selected by a team where playing time was a given.

He joined an experienced squad that had its sights on a deep playoff run, something that runs counter-intuitive to what most high draft picks experience their first year.

But the Celtics advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference finals before falling to Cleveland in five games.

And as Boston went deeper into its season, Brown steadily worked his way into regular minutes which has helped put him here, potentially on the cusp of being a regular starter.

“My mindset is the same in a lot of ways, and is different in a lot of ways,” Brown said. “It’s the same in the sense where I’m just working, trying to get better each and every day just like last year; just constantly push myself for greatness. Where it’s different now, my mindset is I know a little bit more, I have my feet under me. A little bit more is expected of me.”

Throughout the summer, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has been pleased with the growth he has seen in Brown’s game.

But for him to help the Celtics this season, Stevens believes it’ll have to come on the defensive end of the floor.

“Jaylen has to become a lockdown defender for us," Stevens said on the Vertical Podcast with Chris Mannix, earlier this summer. "That's where, as you go into an offseason and you are an individual player, there's a ton of things that you want to get better at, and there's a ton of things you want to add to your game. But ultimately, when you get back to your team, it's what do you do that's different to make your team unique to give yourself the best chance of adding value to winning. We need him to become that."

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