By A.Sherrod Blakely
BOSTON On some nights, Kevin Garnett can still be the best player on the basketball court.
On others, not so much.
The Boston Celtics got the latter on Monday, as Garnett's struggles contributed to the Celtics losing a heart-breaking 98-90 Game 4 matchup in overtime to the Miami Heat.
With the loss, the C's trail the Heat 3-1 in the best-of-seven series that now shifts back to Miami, where the Heat can close out the C's on Wednesday.
Garnett, who was unstoppable in Boston's Game 3 win, turned in arguably the worst playoff game of his illustrious Hall of Fame career.
He finished with just seven points, missing 9 of his 10 shots from the field -- the worst Garnett has ever shot from the field in a playoff game.
"I didn't have the rhythm I had the other night," a somber Garnett said following the loss. "I was expecing them to make some adjustments."
Miami did just that by sending an occasional double-team or tilting a defender towards him from time to time.
As impressive as the Heat's defense may have been on Garnett, his struggles were deeper than that.
On far too many possessions, Garnett fell back into the mentality of a facilitator instead of someone looking to score.
"They trapped him a couple times, and I thought he was probably looking more for traps," said coach Doc Rivers. "He was looking to be a passer to me, more than being an aggressive scorer."
One of the many strengths of Garnett's game is his willingness to get others involved in the scoring.
But there are games when the C's count on him heavily to carry the load as a scorer.
Game 3 on Saturday and Monday's Game 4 were a couple of those games.
Reasons for Garnett's struggles are plentiful. One might be that he was too tired and worn down to make an impact after having so little time in-between games. Another would be the always reliable, "He's too old."
Making matters worse, Garnett's struggles occurred on the same night that the man he lit up in Game 3, Chris Bosh, went off for 20 points and 12 rebounds. None of Bosh's plays were bigger than his tip-in with 24.2 seconds to play in overtime, which put the Heat ahead by five points.
When asked about Bosh's game, Garnett would only answer with, "Next question."
It was a fitting response, when you consider his play will raise a number of questions for the Celtics as they head into Game 5 at Miami on Wednesday.
Which Kevin Garnett will show up? The one that dominated Bosh in Game 3 or the one that was a no-show in Game 4?
Are Garnett's struggle because he's old, injured, or some combination of the two?
While those are all trendy topics to discuss, there's only one question that Celtics fans want to know.
Do the C's have enough confidence to go into a hostile environment like Miami and come away with a victory?
"We've never lacked confidence, and when our backs to the wall we've shown great resilience," Garnett said. "We'll see what we're made of."