Garnett proves he can still score when called upon

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Garnett proves he can still score when called upon

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Kevin Garnett has amassed more points than all but 24 players to ever play in the NBA.

And yet when folks talk about Garnett and the impact he has on the Boston Celtics, it seems to always begin and end with defense.

Garnett doesn't mind, of course.

He'll be the first to tell you that it's his defense, more than anything else, that defines who he is as a player.

But every now and then, KG reminds us all that when motivated, he can score with the best of them.

Garnett put on a scoring clinic in helping the Celtics sweep the Knicks out of the playoffs.

In the decisive Game 4 matchup at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks, Garnett scored a team-high 26 points, which included six of the C's last eight points, to secure a 101-89 win.

With a second-round series likely to begin this weekend against the Miami Heat, similar efforts might be needed from the Big Ticket.

However, you're not going to see or hear Garnett demand the ball.

If anything, he'll demand to switch out defensively on a red-hot player on the other team, like he did in Game 2 when New York's Carmelo Anthony lit up the Celtics for 42 points in a losing effort.

When it comes to scoring, Garnett is more likely to be talked into being more of a scorer, than him actually taking the initiative and command the ball be thrown to him.

Sunday's Game 4 win over the Knicks was no exception.

"I don't get on Kevin often, but on Sunday . . . he was so pass-conscious because of the trapping," coach Doc Rivers said. "We had times where there were point guards on him. We just wanted him to be aggressive."

Being aggressive is not an issue for Garnett. You see it in the way he defends. But when it comes to scoring, Garnett tends to defer to his teammates.

Washington Wizards coach Flip Saunders used to coach Garnett in Minnesota. He wasn't the least bit surprised at Garnett's willingness to get shots for teammates as opposed to himself after being traded to Boston.

"He doesn't care about points," Saunders told CSNNE.com. "Defense is what drives him, what makes him who he is."

But at 6-foot-11, Garnett has the ability to score around the basket with the best of them, in addition to knocking down jumpers in pick-and-pop situations.

And just in case you forgot, Garnett delivers a performance like the one he had in Game 4 to serve as a reminder.

"People forget, the guy can score," said Celtics forward Jeff Green. "He's been doing it his whole career. He's known for his passion that he brings to the game and his defensive intensity. But if you leave him open, he's going to knock down the shot."

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

Warriors force Game 7 with 108-101 win over Thunder

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Warriors force Game 7 with 108-101 win over Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Klay Thompson made a playoff-record 11 3-pointers and scored 41 points, and the defending champion Golden State Warriors forced a seventh game in the Western Conference finals with a 108-101 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.

Stephen Curry bounced back from a slow start to finish with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

The Warriors, who set the league's regular-season record with 73 wins, will host Game 7 on Monday. The winner will play Cleveland in the NBA Finals.

Oklahoma City dominated Games 3 and 4 at home, but the Warriors made 21 of 44 3-pointers on Saturday, while Oklahoma City was 3 of 23.

Kevin Durant scored 29 points and Russell Westbrook added 28 for the Thunder. But Durant made just 10 of 31 shots and Westbrook was 10 of 27.

Trying to become the 10th team to overcome a 3-1 deficit, the Warriors trailed much of the game and trailed by eight going to the fourth quarter.

Thompson kept them in it with four 3-pointers in just over seven minutes to start the period. Curry then hit two 3s, the second of which tied the game at 99 with 2:47 to play.

Thompson's 3 with 1:35 to play put the Warriors up 104-101.

The Thunder, who blew a number of fourth-quarter leads during the regular season, fell apart in the final minutes after Golden State had finally gone ahead for good.

Westbrook lost control of the ball, and after Thompson missed a 3, Westbrook turned the ball over again. Curry's layup with 14.3 seconds to play put the Warriors up by five, the Thunder turned it over again, and the Warriors were in the clear.

The Thunder led 23-20 after one quarter, then seized momentum early in the second. Steven Adams' powerful one-handed dunk on Draymond Green drew a roar from the crowd and gave Oklahoma City a 37-28 lead. Green, who had hit Adams in the groin area twice during the series, was a constant target for the vocal Thunder fans.

Thompson opened the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Warriors a 54-53 edge, but the Thunder closed the quarter strong and led 83-75 heading into the fourth.

Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed

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Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed

By Kurt Helin, NBC Pro Basketball Talk

This is a sad and stunning development.

Bryce Dejean-Jones, the rookie guard of the New Orleans Pelicans, has died, the Dallas, Texas, County Coroner has confirmed to NBC Sports. Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune broke the news.

Dejean-Jones was just 23.

The coroner’s office would not give a cause of death, but Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports had the tragic detail.