Garnett looks to become more of a scorer


Garnett looks to become more of a scorer

By A.Sherrod Blakely

OAKLAND, Calif. Kevin Garnett had a big night scoring in Boston's 115-93 win over the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night.

Memo to the rest of the NBA: Get used to it.

"Second half of this run towards the playoffs, I'm going to have to be aggressive," said Garnett, who had his 18th double-double of the season with game-high 24 points and 12 rebounds. "I'm a team player first . . . but I will be aggressive on this whole trip or this whole second half of the season to try and divert some of the responsibility off Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, and even Rajon Rondo. I have to be."

That ear-to-ear grin on coach Doc Rivers' face?

Yeah, he was happy with the win, which was Boston's first road victory over Golden State since 2003.

Even more pleasing was the fact that it came in part because of Garnett asserting himself offensively, something he has been reluctant to do at times.

"We told him before the game - early, often, and we are going to you every single time we can," Rivers said. "It's funny, our guys they were yelling at him, they kept telling him to shoot. You know Kevin; if he takes two in a row he will pass the next three times so they just kept saying keep going. And it was great to see him do that."

Garnett said his mindset towards being more of a scorer came about following the Celtics' 94-89 loss at Charlotte on Feb. 7.

In that game, Garnett had 9 points on 4-for-11 shooting, to go with 14 rebounds.

"I just thought I wasn't aggressive," he said. "I thought my play was beep, to be honest. I wasn't happy with my play, and ever since then I just marked it as, 'Let's pick it up. let's pick it up.' And I have."

In the four games since the Charlotte loss, Garnett has averaged 16.8 points, 10 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

When Garnett looks to score, it makes the Celtics a much more dangerous squad.

He has the ability to consistently knock down the 15-20 foot jumper. He can also scoring while taking defenders down into the paint.

On Tuesday, the Warriors (26-30) got a good dose of both styles of scoring from Garnett.

While the C's weren't necessarily making a conscious effort to get Garnett more touches offensively, Rajon Rondo did recognize a slightly different Kevin Garnett offensively.

"Tonight he was extra aggressive," Rondo said.

Even as he looks to score more, Garnett will still look to make an impact in other areas as well.

"I just try to be the glue on this team," Garnett said. "When you're playing with the talent we have on this team, I just try not to be one-dimensional. I try to be . . . everywhere. I try to fill every category in the book that's positive."

And yes, that includes being more of a scorer.

"My offense has to be . . . probably above average, and it will be," Garnett said.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”