Garnett goes cold in Game 4

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Garnett goes cold in Game 4

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

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."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

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Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

After the Clippers were elminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, a disappointed Paul Pierce told ESPN that he was "50-50" about retirement. 

In a video after Portland's Game 6 victory posted on oregonlive.com, the former Celtics captain said his "heart is broken" by another playoff elimination. 

Pierce signed a a three-year, $10 million contract to return home (he grew up in Inglewood, Calif.) and play for his old coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.  He'll be 39 next season and coming off the worst season of his career. Pierce averaged 6.1 points, 36 percent shooting and 18 minutes a game, all career lows.

How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

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How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

WALTHAM, Mass. -- This past season, Isaiah Thomas took a major step forward to becoming more than just a solid NBA player, but one of the game’s best.
 
He knows he won’t stay among the elite for long if he doesn’t make some changes with the most notable being to his diet.
 
“I do not eat good,” Thomas acknowledged following his exit interview this week. “I eat like a young guy, a young guy who got a little bit of money, fast food every day. But I’m definitely going to change.”
 
The change becomes necessary not only in light of how the season ended for him and the Celtics, but also for his long-term goals, which include playing in the NBA until he’s at least 40 years old.
 
“I’m not that old but the greatest players took care of their bodies the best,” Thomas said.
 
Among those cited by Thomas who excelled at taking care of their bodies was former Celtic Ray Allen.
 
But Thomas was quick to add that he won’t go to the lengths that Allen did in maintaining good health.
 
“Because he’s a little crazy with that,” quipped Thomas. “I just want to play at a high level for a long time, like Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant. You have to take care of your body. That’s half the battle of performing out there on the floor.
 
Thomas added, “This is a big summer for me to start doing that.”
 
Eating right is just part of the transformation process for Thomas.
 
He’ll also modify is offseason workouts to include some work in the boxing ring with long time friend Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
 
“I’m definitely work with him a few times, get my conditioning right, probably train, do some boxing stuff on the side, just to get in that type of shape,” Thomas said. “You get in that type of shape you won’t get tired on the basketball floor. This summer is big for me, transforming my body, getting into the best shape possible and coming back and having another all-star year.”
 
For the Celtics to improve upon this past season, they will need Thomas to continue elevating his play as well as the play of those around him.
 
It is that latter point that was among the many reasons Boston’s season is over. No matter what he did, those around him could not step their game up to a level needed in order to get past the Atlanta Hawks.
 
Chalk it up to another lesson learned for Thomas.
 
“You can’t do it on your own,” Thomas said. “There’s no way you can do it on your own. Nobody can do it on your own; and how hard it is to win playoff games, a playoff series. It’s not easy.”
 
And when you come up short, for Thomas is created an uneasiness that he never wants to experience again.
 
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to not have this feeling again,” he said. “It really hurt me. I’m going to use that as motivation to continue to get better and to work on my flaws and make those into my strengths. I promise you’ll I’ll be back better than ever next year.”