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

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

WALTHAM, Mass. – As the final horn blew in Boston’s 108-98 win over Charlotte on Monday night, the game was a win-win kind of night for Avery Bradley.

The Celtics (26-15) continue rolling over opponents at the TD Garden, and he played a relatively pain-free 33 minutes in the win.

It was Bradley’s first game back after missing the previous four with a strained right Achilles injury.

And the fact that he was back on the practice floor on Tuesday (be it a light practice, mind you), bodes well for his injury being a thing of the past now.

“I felt good. It wasn’t sore at all in the game,” Bradley said. “I felt I was moving good. After the game I was a little sore and this morning, but otherwise I felt good.”

Despite Boston being 4-1 this season when Bradley doesn’t play, he has immense value to this Celtics team at both ends of the floor.

Offensively he has been Boston’s second-leading scorer most of this season and currently averages a career-high 17.7 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds which is also a career high.

And defensively, Bradley is coming off a season in which he was named to the NBA’s all-Defensive First Team for the first time.

Any questions or concerns about the Achilles affecting his play defensively were put to rest Monday night when he put the defensive clamps on Nicolas Batum who missed nine of his 11 shots from the field while primarily being guarded by Bradley.

Now his offense, that’s another story.

Bradley failed to reach double digits scoring for the first time this season as he missed seven of his nine shots on Monday to finish with just five points.

But part of that had to do with Bradley passing up shots he normally takes, as well as him missing some he normally knocks down.

Considering his lay-off and the rhythm his teammates have been in shooting the ball in his absence, Bradley wisely decided to get his defensive bearings on track and gradually bring his offensive game around. 

“I have to get my (shooting) rhythm back,” said Bradley who is making a career-best 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers this season. “I’m fine. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”