Hurricane Garnett rips through Philly in Game 3


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."