Notes: KG's aggressiveness doesn't always pay off

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Notes: KG's aggressiveness doesn't always pay off

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

PHILADELPHIA The concept of a more aggressive Kevin Garnett has its merits.

But there's a downside to it, one that we saw first-hand in Wednesday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Looking to score, Garnett kept on firing away as one shot after another rimmed in and out. He finished with 16 points, but missed 15 of his 19 shot attempts.

"Lord knows I missed some shots that I work on every day," Garnett said. "It is what it is."

Said Celtics coach Doc Rivers: "He had a bad night. I knew he was human before the Clippers loss, and it is confirmed. He just had one of those nights."

When you focus as much as Garnett does on his game, it's unlikely that he'll have a similar poor shooting night against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.

Although the C's did have a couple days off prior to the Clippers game, Rivers is concerned more about keeping Garnett's minutes in their usual 34-minutes-a-game range.

In Garnett's quest to take some of the scoring pressure off of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, Rivers believes he might have been looking to shoot too much.

"I thought he was pressing at times offensively, which he never does," Rivers said. "I never thought he had balance on his shots. I thought everything was front rim on his shots, which is fatigue. That was tough."

While the Clippers would be more than happy to take the credit for Garnett's shooting woes, they know better.

"Our defense was good, but he's a great shooter and he missed some shots he normally makes," said Clippers star Blake Griffin
Collins in line for coaching accolade
There's more than a month left in the regular season, but it's clear Sixers head coach Doug Collins will get strong consideration for the league's Coach of the Year award.

He took over a team that was just 27-55 last season. This season, they're 33-31 and currently have the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference.

There are a number of factors that have contributed to the Sixers' success this season, including the formation of the South Beach Big Three of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

"It weakened Toronto. It weakened Cleveland," said Collins, referring to the former teams of Bosh and James, respectively. "And LeBron didn't go to a New York or New Jersey that was banking on him coming in and helping turn their franchise around. For us . . . that sort of helps us a bit."

Bench still coming together
Boston is expected to suit up 10 players again on Friday.

Among those 10 players, half were not with the team prior to the Feb. 24 trading deadline.

Not surprisingly, the Celtics have had moments when the team's lack of chemistry has been an issue.

But for the most part, it hasn't been a big enough hurdle to get in the way of winning.

Since the players acquired via the trade arrived in Boston, the C's have been 5-1 in that span.

"It's always difficult because a new team has different things that where you were at in the first place," said newcomer Jeff Green. "But we've got a good group of guys, all close guys who learn quick. We've been getting up to speed with a lot of stuff and catching on quicker than normal so hopefully it continues to go well."

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

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

BOSTON -- On more than one occasion Monday night, the Boston Celtics were a discombobulated bunch with some players thinking they were running one play, while others were thinking the play called was something totally different.
 
You see that stuff in the preseason and to a certain extent in the regular season for a lot of teams. It is in those moments that we’re reminded that this Boston Celtics team is a work in progress on so many levels.
 
Because of that, we all need to hit the pause button when talking about them as a team inching closer towards Eastern Conference supremacy.
 
After the first month of the season, they have yet to show that they are going to be better than last season’s 48-win ball club.
 
The big problem a year ago was the offense bogging down and for the most part, not making shots. This year, it’s the team’s defense that has let them down on many nights.
 
And with that comes a sobering reminder this crew is good, but at best are maybe top-five in the East.
 
As a team on the rise, beating teams you’re not supposed to has to happen with some semblance of regularity.
 
There were only three teams on the Celtics’ docket this season thus far that they should have been beaten by without there being any argument: Golden State, San Antonio and Cleveland.
 
They were beaten in all three, two of which (Golden State and Cleveland) had final scores that did not indicate the level of dominance they had over the Celtics.
 
The average margin of defeat in the three games was 9.3 points, but two of them (San Antonio and Golden State) were at the TD Garden, which is supposed to be the equalizer for upset-minded teams.
 
But in each game, Boston put up a decent fight only to fail to emerge victorious.
 
The struggles against the upper echelon teams of the NBA has nothing to do with not having a superstar or a great rebounder or any of the kazillion reasons/excuses offered up as to why they’re not better.
 
It’s hunger.
 
It’s effort.
 
It’s about being blinded by the internet clicks that tout them as one of the best teams in the East, and them not seeing the danger that comes with embracing all that patting on the back.
 
It makes you soft.
 
It makes you fat and happy.
 
And maybe most significant, it creates a false sense of arrival before you’ve left the tarmac.
 
That’s where the Boston Celtics are right now: a team that seems to have forgotten why they were the team nobody wanted to play last year.
 
It wasn’t that teams feared playing them. It was the fact that they knew playing the Celtics would be tough, and it would force them to play a lot closer to their full potential than they were used to if they wanted to win.
 
It was because everyone knew that to beat the Celtics, you don’t have a choice but to play hard because you damn well knew they would.
 
Not anymore.
 
They bring that toughness to the game in small doses, like an intra-venous drip full of hope and promise, providing just enough to life to keep their fans optimistic but not nearly enough to kill the noise of their haters and critics.
 
And while the season is still young, the Celtics need to start racking up some quality wins.
 
Right now, their most impressive win is a toss-up between beating Charlotte 104-98 on Oct. 29, or a 94-92 win at Detroit on Nov. 19.
 
Boston plays at Orlando on Wednesday, a team that’s likely to be back in the lottery again. But after that, they travel back to Boston where they’ll host Toronto -- a game that they desperately need to not only to pad their win total but also provide a much-needed boost of energy and confidence going forward.

The Celtics have to find that hunger, that collective desire that we’ve seen in the past which has propelled them to greater heights than we’ve seen thus far.
 
Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford… you can go down the roster and the mission for all of them has to be the same: play harder, for longer, and be smarter about it, because this team has too much collective talent to be just three games above .500.
 
At 12-9, Boston is third in the East and trail conference-leading Cleveland by three games for the best record in the conference. But then you look at the teams behind the Celtics and realize that they’re only two games out of having the ninth-best record in the East.
 
It speaks in part to the season still being in its infancy stage. But it’s also telling as to how Boston does not have a huge margin of error when it comes to losing winnable games.
 
And as we’ve seen thus far, the Celtics can play with any team in the NBA and hold their own.
 
But beating them is a totally different narrative that this squad has yet to write.