Hurricane Garnett rips through Philly in Game 3

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Hurricane Garnett rips through Philly in Game 3

PHILADELPHIA Kevin Garnett is not supposed to be doing this; not now, anyway.

Garnett jumped into the DeLorean once again and went back in time, to a time when he was a one-man scoring machine that nobody could stop.

He has indeed brought that KG of the past to the present-day Boston Celtics who lead their best-of-seven series 2-1 over Philadelphia following another big game by Garnett.

Garnett led all players with 27 points on 12-for-17 shooting to go with 13 rebounds, four assists and a steal.

"He's a great player," said Philadelphia's Thaddeus Young. "He's a guy who's going to go out there and do all the dirty work and play hard all the time."

And that hard work has indeed paid off for Garnett and the C's as they move one step closer to advancing to the Conference finals.

But the night did not get off to the best of starts for Garnett, who picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter.

After sitting for about half of the first, which is normal for him, he came back in the second quarter with a vengeance as the Sixers defenders were defenseless against his offensive onslaught.

Just like that, a five-point Celtics deficit was flipped around and turned into a double-digit halftime lead for the C's. And it was Garnett carrying the load, scoring 13 points in the second quarter. That was just three points less than the entire Philadelphia team in the second quarter.

"That was the initial game plan," said Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. "We wanted to give him the ball in the post. Ithink we did a pretty good job of executing."

Of Garnett's 12 made field goals, seven were baskets that were 10-feet or less from the rim. Seeing him spend so much time around the basket is not as easy to accept for Garnett as it is for some other centers.

But C's coach Doc Rivers has been on him all season to continue making his presence felt in the post, and not rely so much on his jumper. That's one of the reasons Rivers likes to keep him on the floor with the second unit.

"When he's in there with the second unit, we play through him; him and Ray," said Celtics guard Keyon Dooling. "We rely on him to be on the post. That's his time to kind of establish his post-game."

Garnett did just that as the Sixers were no match for him in Game 3. Philadelphia has gone with length (Spencer Hawes) and power (Elton Brand and Lavoy Allen), and nothing seems to be working.

"We just have to go out there and find a way to stop him," said Philadelphia forward Thaddeus Young. "Which is probably just pushing him out of the paint and not letting him get as many post-ups, double team him on the catch a little bit more and get the ball out of his hands."

That sounds good, but that has typically freed him up for good looks at the basket. And that has led to dominant performances that don't seem anywhere close to ending any time soon.

"We're chasing something special," said Celtics guard Keyon Dooling. "We're all extremely motivated to win."

That "special" thing is Banner 18, a pipe dream earlier this season that's gradually becoming a realistic goal this season. But before the C's can start planning the parade on Causeway Street, they must first dispatch of the pesky Sixers who are sure to play better in Game 4 on Friday than they did in Game 3.

"The biggest challenge is to try and repeat that effort," Garnett said. "It has to be a supreme effort from a defensive standpoint. When you beat a team like this at home, you have to expect them coming out with a lot of energy. But we'll be ready and we'll be having a lot of energy ourselves."

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All-Stars, studs and duds: Westbrook's reign as MVP comes to an end

All-Stars, studs and duds: Westbrook's reign as MVP comes to an end

NEW ORLEANS – You don’t rack up triple doubles at a historically ridiculous rate the way Russell Westbrook does without being able to dish out an assist from time to time.

The biggest assist he made in the 66th annual NBA all-star didn’t make its way on to the stats sheet.

But it was historical in so many ways.

Westbrook’s advice to Anthony Davis on how to win the game’s MVP award was indeed taken to heart with Davis winning the award following the Western Conference’s 192-182 win over the East All-Stars.

Davis finished with a game-high 52 points, shattering the previous mark set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

Davis won the MVP award after Westbrook had won it each of the two previous All-Star games.

Prior to the game, Davis said he did do a little lobbying among his fellow all-stars in the locker room.

“I stressed that, I think more than enough, to the guys in the locker room before the game that I wanted to get the MVP for this crowd, for this city, and I ended up doing it.”

Following the game, Westbrook acknowledged that he did speak with Davis about how to win the MVP award.

When asked about what he said, Westbrook replied, “I’m not going to tell you, but he did a good job and got it done.”

Despite not winning the MVP award, Westbrook had a dominant game of his own as he tallied 41 points which was one point shy of the previous record.

But after the game, it was clear that he was more pleased with the performance of Davis.

“It was great,” Westbrook said. “It’s definitely always a great thing to do, especially here where he plays in front of his fans, his family. It’s a great experience and definitely happy for him.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the 66th annual NBA all-star game.

 

STARS

Anthony Davis

The hometown team’s best player delivered a scoring night for the ages, finishing with an All-Star record 52 points on 26-for-39 shooting to go with 10 rebounds. The previous record of 42 points was set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

Russell Westbrook

His All-Star reign as the game’s MVP came to an end after having won the award the previous two All-Star games. He finished with 41 points.

 

STUDS

Giannis Antetokounmpo

He was an above-the-rim monster, scoring 30 points primarily on a dozen dunks.

Kevin Durant

He was filling up the stat sheet in several categories for the West, finishing with a triple-double of 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Kyrie Irving

Arguably the best performer for the East, Irving had 22 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas

There were others who had a more prolific night shooting the ball, but Thomas’ impact off the bench was indeed felt. He led all East reserves with 20 points.

James Harden

The bearded one had a triple-double as well, although not the kind he would prefer. Along with scoring 12 points, and dishing out 12 assists, Harden also racked up a game-high 10 turnovers.

 

DUDS

None

There were some guys who didn’t do much statistically, but with this being such an exhibition-like event, putting too much stock in any player’s performance is a waste of time. They are among the top 24 or so players in the NBA. No amount of missed shots or turnovers will change that fact.