BOSTON It doesn't take a lot to get Kevin Garnett any more motivated than he already is on game nights.
Hit him with a technical?
Yup. That'll do it.
Garnett has been surprisingly cool, calm and collected all season -- at least by KG standards, anyway.
But in Wednesday night's 102-96 win over Milwaukee, we saw a glimmer of the old fire-breathing Garnett when he and second-year big man Larry Sanders had a few uh, words for one another that resulted in both being whistled for a technical foul with 6:23 to play in the second quarter.
"Sometimes you need a little swift kick in the (expletive) I thought the little tech, it shook up the dog house, as we say," Garnett said.
Garnett was scoreless at that point in the second quarter.
But after the tech, Garnett had four points and an assist in the quarter.
"It gave me a little energy," said Garnett, who finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds for his team-leading ninth double-double this season. "Don't take much."
Garnett's focus remains no different now than it has been since he became a Celtic in 2007 -- find a way to win.
And he's doing so with a solid season that's getting very little attention or fanfare.
"As far as the year, I'm just trying to give my team an edge," Garnett said. "I've been going through some personal problems of late, but I'm good and I'm back; looking at life a little different, beat up and all that, just giving all I have. I'm nothing more, nothing less than that."
The "personal problems" Garnett mentioned led to him missing two road games (at Detroit and Dallas) earlier this season, both of which the Celtics lost.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers recognizes that much of Garnett's solid play this year has indeed gone unnoticed, while the talk of him being past his prime persists.
"It's amazing, 'Kevin's old, Kevin's this' it's all you hear," Rivers said. "And no one looks at his numbers."
This season, Garnett is averaging 14.9 points and eight rebounds which are almost identical to the numbers he posted last season.
And while those numbers are below his career averages, often forgotten about is that Garnett's playing time has been significantly reduced.
The 35-year-old veteran is averaging 30.8 minutes played which is about six minutes below his career average.
"It's not like Kevin is playing a ton of minutes," Rivers said. "He's still putting up numbers."
Making his play even more surprising has been it has come with the veteran being relatively injury-free other than the usual bumps and bruises that come with a long -- and this year, contracted -- NBA season.
When asked about Garnett's durability, Rivers quickly responded, "I'm not talking about that; stay away from that subject."