BOSTON Kevin Garnett doesn't move about nearly as well as he did a year or so ago.
But every now and then, Garnett gets it going defensively which reminds us why he's considered one of the most complete players of this generation.
That defensive acumen was put to the test by the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard on Monday.
Even with the most dominant one-man force in the NBA, the Magic were no match for the Celtics who had no problem racking up an 87-56 win.
While the Celtics' personnel has changed some, the approach to defending Howard remains the same.
Boston usually plays Howard with just one man, occasionally mixing in a double-team or a tilt just to keep him from getting into any kind of rhythm.
Garnett acknowledges there are some other tricks to the trade in defending Howard, but he won't share those publicly.
"When players get the whistle, when players are very talented, when players are athletic, you at his mercy, to be honest," Garnett said. "You have to do your dirty work early, which is try to take him off his sweet spots, contest his shot. He's strong, very powerful and explosive. You at his mercy, seriously."
Said Celtics coach Doc Rivers: "He was the Kevin we know. We don't like putting him at the 5 (center) a lot. But he was so good tonight, and so was JO (Jermaine O'Neal)."
While Garnett and O'Neal did their best to be as physical as possible with Howard, it was clear that the C's were taking him and his teammates out of the game mentally as well.
"We just allowed them to get into our heads," Howard said. "They won the mental battle. They've been doing it for a couple years. They would just get in our head, and we just have to learn to play through that."
Whether it's attacking him mentally or physically, Boston knows the best path to success against the Magic is to limit Howard's effectiveness.
"He's not the one for finesse," Garnett said. "He's either going to go through you or over you. There's no one in our league that looks like him, plays like him. That's why he's Dwight Howard."