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."