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

Stars, studs and duds: Olynyk finding his stride off Celtics bench

Stars, studs and duds: Olynyk finding his stride off Celtics bench

BOSTON – It’s easy to forget that Kelly Olynyk went several months without doing anything basketball-related as he was on the mend from shoulder surgery.

His return had its share of ups and downs, but it seems the 7-foot center has found his stride and he’s making opponents pay for it.

For the second time in as many games, Olynyk came up big for the Celtics as Boston continued on its winning ways with a 108-98 win over Charlotte.

Olynyk, who scored a season-high 26 points in Boston’s win at Atlanta on Friday, had an efficient 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting against the Hornets on Monday.

Assertive. Aggressive. Contract year.

It doesn’t matter how you describe what or why Olynyk is ballin’ so hard lately.

The point is he’s doing it a better job of recognizing opportunities to make plays and executing whatever role he’s being asked to play.

“Just feeling good with the second unit,” Olynyk said. “I’m just trying to be aggressive and help the starters out.”

In the past, teams have mixed up their defensive coverages on Olynyk which frequently left him being guarded by a quicker but smaller player, or a big man with limited mobility.

Often Olynyk settled for long range shots and 3’s, regardless of the defender.

But as we’ve seen the last couple of games, he has hurt teams with his scoring around the rim which has in turn opened things up for his teammates or himself.

“We need him to play like that all the time,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “When he’s aggressive, looking for his shot, shooting open shots, even getting in there getting rebounds, offensive put-backs, that only helps us as a unit. And he’s done a great job of that the past couple games. We need that from him.”

And as he gets further removed from his offseason surgery, opportunities for him to be an impactful player for Boston will only grow.

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

 

STARS

Isaiah Thomas

The Celtics win, and Isaiah Thomas has another offensive flurry in the fourth quarter. So what else is new? He led all scorers with 35 points which included 17 in the fourth quarter.

Kemba Walker

He’s still playing at a level that puts him in the All-Star conversation, but it’s not going to happen with the Hornets continuing to struggle. They’ve lost five in a row now despite Walker’s 24 points on Monday.

 

STUDS

Al Horford

Boston is playing more inside-out basketball of late, and that’s opening things up for both Horford and his teammates. Against the Hornets he had 22 points on 8-for-14 shooting along with six rebounds and four assists.

Kelly Olynyk

For the second straight game, Olynyk had a strong, impactful performance for the Celtics utilizing his strengths as a perimeter threat and a 7-footer who can take advantage of smaller defenders around the rim. He finished with 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting to go with nine rebounds, four assists and a steal.

Marvin Williams

He was the only other Hornet besides Kemba Walker who really impacted the game significantly. Williams had 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting which included 3-for-6 shooting from 3-point range.

Jae Crowder

The 6-foot-6 Crowder continues to have a sneaky-good season for the Celtics, particularly with his 3-point shooting which ranks among the league leaders. On Monday he had 15 points which included a trio of 3-pointers to go with seven rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot.

 

DUDS

Nicolas Batum

Avery Bradley put most of his effort and attention into defending Batum and man, did it ever pay off. Batum grabbed 10 rebounds, but wound up missing nine of his 11 shots from the field to finish with just four points.