Garnett comes through in the clutch for Celtics

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Garnett comes through in the clutch for Celtics

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- For nearly 44 minutes, the Boston Celtics watched Carmelo Anthony score 42 points and have his way at the basket without any regard for their defensive efforts.

It took Kevin Garnett just nine seconds to take that all away.

On Tuesday in Game 2 of the first round series between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, it was Garnetts turn to change the outcome. Ray Allen had hit a game-winning three-pointer two days earlier, and this time Garnett took care of it in the paint.

In a game with 22 lead changes, Garnett slammed a dunk from Paul Pierce with 1:14 left in the fourth quarter to put the Celtics up, 92-91. But the Cs fell behind by one with 19.3 seconds to go after Jared Jeffries scored on a layup.

Coming out of a timeout, Rondo inbounded to Garnett, who worked Jeffries down in the paint and converted on a hookshot with 13.3 seconds remaining.

I really wasnt in a nice rhythm, to be honest, Garnett (12 points, 6-16 FG, 10 rebounds) said after the game. I was just taking what he was giving me. Ive been in this situation before a couple times. I think earlier he had got a poke from the back, when you poke the ball, and that wasnt going to happen twice. So I just remained calm, went to a shot that I know I can make.

On the next trip down the court, Garnett stripped the ball from Jeffries under the Knicks basket and called timeout with 4.4 seconds remaining. The Celtics regained possession and Delonte West hit free throws to ice the 96-93 victory, giving the Cs a 2-0 lead in the series.

Kevin Garnett doesnt remember making his final play of the game, but the Knicks will. In a frenzy of intensity, his basketball instincts took over and his burning desire to win controlled his body.

You know whats crazy? I barely remember anything about tonight, he said. I just know I had a steal and at that point Im just reacting more than anything at that point, to be honest. Nothing more, nothing less than that.

While Garnetts defense is unwavering, Tuesday his offense on Tuesday was not consistent for the majority of the game. He had shot just 3-for-10 through three quarters. Part of the Celtics strength, though, is their confidence in one another - and the fortitude of the players to come through in the clutch.

Thats why Doc Rivers didnt hesitate to get Garnett the ball in spite of his stat line.

Listen, KG struggled a little bit offensively but like I said the other day with Ray, we trust all of our guys, he said. We drew up the play and it was for Kevin or Paul Pierce. If they tried to deny the ball to Paul, I told Rondo, then that means that Kevin has to be open because theres only a certain amount of bodies on the floor. They did try to deny Paul which allowed us to get a deep post for Kevin. Rondo made a great cut so they couldnt double team - he was the only guy under the basket. They double teamed - he was sitting there by himself.

Garnetts tear in the final seconds of the game gave the Celtics a critical lead as they travel to New York for Games 3 and 4 this weekend. They head to Madison Square Garden fueled by the efforts of one of their leaders.

Kevin, hes our spirit. He plays as hard as anybody I know and he did what he does best. Thats be the energy guy, get out there, make things happen with this intensity on defense and offense, said Glen Davis.

Its good to get buckets like that. When you go all the way back to when we won it, Kevin was hitting game-winners all the time. So that kind of reminds me of the first year that we won it. So its a good feeling to know that Kevin is getting in the post and making himself a serious threat. And thats what we need him to do down the stretch.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

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“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”