Garnett saves best for last in 3OT win over Nuggets

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Garnett saves best for last in 3OT win over Nuggets

BOSTON While the exact words said is unclear, the message to the Boston Celtics going into the third overtime to Denver wasn't.

Get Kevin Garnett the damn ball!

That's exactly what the Celtics did, and the result - a 118-114 triple overtime win against Denver - speaks for itself.

Garnett finished with 20 points on 9-for-24 shooting. But in the third overtime, he morphed into an unstoppable scorer that put the pesky Nuggets (33-19) away for good.

"That was part of the plan," said Paul Pierce, who had his second triple-double of the season. "We wanted to get it to him (Garnett) on the block. We wanted to get it to him in his spots where he could take his shot. That was a big part of the plan. We felt he had the advantage and we weren't going to it enough. So we tried to keep going to him, keep wearing out the matchup."

Said Jeff Green: "He (Garnett) is the number one, go-to guy. I don't think anybody can stop him in the post. We just have to continue to use that."

There was no mistaking that Garnett in the third overtime was much more engaged, more active, more assertive offensively than at any other point prior to that.

And while Garnett has the ability to score around the basket, he wisely did his damage in the third overtime from the perimeter which seemed to give JaVale McGee - the man who was supposed to be guarding him - problems.

"I just think we were slow getting out on him," said Nuggets coach George Karl.

Garnett is known for his ability to shoot from the perimeter, but Karl believes it has actually improved with time.

"I think it's about time that he gets respect that he can make the 21, 22-footer rather than - he's been an 18, 19-foot guy," Karl said. "It seems like Garnett has a huge heart and wanted to win the game and he made some big time shots."

But as much as the focus in the third overtime seemed to be on Garnett, his play was just part of what has become a team that's built firmly on its collective parts coming together, than any one or two individuals.

"I know we're a bunch of fighters; we got a bunch of competitors," Garnett said. "We have a bunch of talent in here, future talent in here. A lot of guys in here can do great things. A lot of guys in here are going to be great in this league. It's all about putting it together and seeing what it can be together."

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.