Garnett inspires wonder with inexplicable play

761134.jpg

Garnett inspires wonder with inexplicable play

On Saturday night, Kevin Garnett delivered his latest in a long line of headline-stealing quotes.

I have no life at this point," said Garnett, with whom I now have at least one thing in common. "I go home, get treatment, come back in here, study tape, film -- no life at all. This is what it is.

The quote goes up on the 2012 playoff cork board, along with other classics like:

Rondos the head that makes the Voltron.

Some of yall dont know how to bake, but dont worry about it. Ask your mothers and fathers or something someone who knows how to bake.

My only advice to him is next time he opens his mouth, actually know what he's talking about X's and O's versus checkbooks and bottom lines.

Happy Mothers Day to you mothers and future mothers. I aint talking to you deadbeat ass dads.

To be honest, the no life quote isnt nearly as entertaining as some of the others, but what it lacks in humor and KG-quirkiness, it makes up for in disclosure and honesty. It gives us another glimpse behind the KG curtain which was almost entirely off limits until this past season. And even if he lifted the veil only to reveal that there's nothing behind it, it was still pretty cool, and a refreshing deviation from the typical cliches we get from most athletes in every sport.

I have no life at this point. I go home, get treatment, come back in here, study tape, film no life at all. This is what it is.

This is what it is.

This is what it is.

But here's what most of us still want to know:

What exactly is this?

What are we actually seeing?

How do we explain what Kevin Garnett is doing?

It's clear that he's drawn unbelievable inspiration from the haters those who wrote him off as old, over-the-hill and unable to compete at his former Hall of Fame level. But those haters are nothing new. They've existed for years. They or, I should probably say, "we" have questioned his physical limitations since February of 2009. Are we supposed to assume that Garnett wasn't as motivated last year? That the sight of LeBron, Wade and Bosh on the other side of the court wasn't enough for him to reach his max-level of clinically insane motivation?

It's also clear that he's benefited from playing center, but that can only account for so much. Al Horford or Josh Smith? Spencer Hawes or Elton Brand? Is the difference between either of these match-ups actually the difference in KG's ridiculous production? What about the fact that his worst two games of the postseason by far occurred on nights when he was guarding, and being guarded by Jason Collins?

And it's also clear that he's at a level, physically, that he hasn't been in years. That's not to say that he's 100 percent or even close but KG's running, jumping and moving in ways he hasn't since before that aforementioned injury. And he's been doing it for the better part of this season. The same season we all assumed would run him into the ground, render him useless and likely send him into retirement. The same is season that's reeked havoc across the league and worn down many younger, stronger and, we assumed, more physically resilient players. Yet somehow, he's flourished. That alone is almost impossible to fathom. Combine it with everything else, and . . . I don't know.

Maybe it just is what it is. Far be it from a Boston sports fan to ever question that mantra. And really, at this point, why question anything? Why waste a second wondering how this happened, when it's far more satisfying to sit back revel in the fact that it is happening.

And with that, I should probably apologize for 700 words worth of wonder. I probably would have been better off using this space as an opportunity to declare that there's no chance that KG can keep this up. That he's bound to wear down and take the Celtics with him. I could have printed it out, slipped it into his locker during pre-game and watched the Sixers pay the price.

But right now, it really seems like KG is past that.

He's got all the fuel he needs. He's all gassed up. He's locked in.

Game. Home. Treatment. Tape. Film. Game.

Rinse and repeat. And hopefully, until much further notice.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

MORE:

But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."

Stars, studs and duds: Lillard steps up in second half, overtime

Stars, studs and duds: Lillard steps up in second half, overtime

BOSTON – Saturday was yet another night when the opposing team – this time it was the Portland Trail Blazers – that up the Boston Celtics with an avalanche of points that ended in a 127-123 overtime loss.

And yet through the rubble of all those lay-ups and put-back baskets and mid-range jumpers, Stevens saw something he has not seen in a while – hope that better days defensively were coming sooner rather than later.

MORE:

“As crazy as it sounds with them scoring (127) … I actually thought we were a lot closer to defending the way we want to defend," said Stevens. "I thought we were really locked into those guards, and I thought we tried to make it as tough as possible. Those guys are really good players, obviously, but I thought, I thought we did a lot of good things in that regard.”

For the most part, Boston and Portland played a relatively even game that wasn’t decided until the final minute of overtime.

“They just made more plays down the stretch,” said Boston’s Al Horford.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Saturday’s game.

 

STARS

C.J. McCollum

He tends to get second billing to Damian Lillard, but he was a first rate problem for the Celtics. He led the Blazers with 35 points on 11-for-21 shooting.

Damian Lillard

After a foul-troubled first half, Lillard stepped up like the All-Star he is in the second half to finish with 28 points and seven assists which included seven of Portland’s 14 points in overtime.

Isaiah Thomas

It was another dynamic scoring night for Thomas, finishing with a game-high 41 points which included 21 in the fourth quarter and overtime.


STUDS

Terry Rozier

Making the most of his chance to play due to injuries and illnesses, Rozier came up with a number of big shots all night. He finished with 15 points which included a 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds in the fourth that forced overtime.

Mason Plumlee

In addition to doing a solid job protecting the rim, Plumlee also tallied a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds while dishing out a game-high eight assists.

Meyers Leonard

Easily the big X-factor of the game, Leonard had 17 points off the bench on 6-for-7 shooting.

 

DUDS

Celtics Turnovers

This is the one area where the Celtics have been really good all season. Saturday? Not so much. Boston turned the ball over a season-high 21 times which accounted for 34 points for the Blazers.