By Jessica Camerato
BOSTON - For all the good that Kevin Garnett has experienced in his career, he wants to remember the bad. The embarrassing blowouts, the one-point losses, they all serve a purpose in his never-ending pursuit of greatness.
On Friday, even after beating the Washington Wizards by 16 points, he was still thinking about Thursdays 97-81 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
You want to keep that fresh in your mind. Its motivating, he said. We played like trash; they played great. And you want that to motivate you. Now weve got a really good Heat team coming up on Sunday and well be tested again.
With three games left before the playoffs and the Celtics in a battle with the Heat for the second seed in the Eastern Conference, Garnett has no room for excuses. He knows the level of basketball his team is capable of, and he wants the Celtics to play up to it.
I think were right there looking for that consistency, he said. And well see. If we decide as a team to commit to that, then thats what well be. If not, were going to have problems.
That means no excuses - no talk of injuries, gelling with new teammates, and especially not fatigue. The Celtics played back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday and will play another two in a row on Sunday and Monday. Thats a lot of basketball for a veteran team to play over a five-day span, and Garnett doesnt want to hear about it.
Fatigues not an option right now, he said. Its not an option. But we are trying to get better and were doing it with hard work and effort, as usual.
This is the point in the season where the Celtics cant rely on days off of extra rest. Instead they have to look to themselves, and feed off those around them.
The Jungle, thats when the fans come through, when you dig and see what you have in you. You dig really deep, Garnett said of playing in front of the home crowd. You dig really deep. But fatigue, a lot of it is mental. It is physical but a lot of it, mentally, you can get through it. If you can get through certain quarters and get rest here and there through some subs, then you can endure.
The Celtics will play two of their last three regular season games on the road. Garnett finds motivation in that, too. He knows the Cs have to make the best of the games they are given to play, and hell remember the burning losses as he fights toward his next win.
The boos are probably even more motivating than anything, he said. To be booed or to be hated or disliked - hates a very strong word - to be disliked, is motivating. You just cant use it as an excuse. Thats all. Other teams are tired, other teams are also going home, but this point in the season, its not an option.
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba