Garnett: 'This is where all the plastic people melt'

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Garnett: 'This is where all the plastic people melt'

SACRAMENTO Kevin Garnett would love it if the Boston Celtics had one of the best records in the NBA right now, steamrolling over foes like they did back during the C's 2008 championship run.

But this Celtics team is far from being that dominant; not even close, truthfully.

However, these troubled times for the Celtics have a bonding affect that in a weird way, Garnett kind of likes.

He has always been about the team. And these are the times when those bonds are put to the ultimate test as the C's find themselves at or near their lowest point in the season following Sunday's 118-96 loss to Sacramento.

"These are dog days," Garnett said. "This is really where you really see who's with you. Ain't nobody cheering, ain't no lights on us and I love this right now. Because this is where all the plastic people melt right here."

And those that have the mental toughness to fight through this rough patch, will stand out.

"We gotta play better," Garnett said. "We gotta have some self pride in ourselves. Gave up 100 and something points three games in a row, and it ain't been close. We gotta at some point take it personal, you know?"

And don't think for a minute that Garnett is pointing fingers at any particular player or players on the C's roster.

When asked about the Celtics' overall effort, Garnett refused to go Dr. Phil-like on the subject and instead brought the conversation back to who he knows best - himself.

Even though Garnett is winning the popularity vote among Eastern Conference big men with what may likely be another All-Star appearance as a starter, he sees plenty of room for self-improvement.

And he's hoping that his 14 teammates all take a similar approach to the next few days without any games on the docket until a home game Jan. 2 against Memphis.

"Like I said, look at themselves in the mirror including myself and better what I can do," Garnett said. "And try to figure out what I can do better to help this team."

For starters, the Celtics could be more mentally tough, something that is among the many things that separate this team from the C's squads in recent years.

"We built something here," Garnett said. "I'm not living in the past or nothing, but the reason why guys came back ... is because of what we built here and what we're known for, to defend. For some reason we got away from that, so we have to go back to our origins and figure it out."

Indeed, the Celtics seem too consumed by playing well offensively. So when it doesn't happen, the defense in a word, sucks.

"Everybody shows up to compete," Rivers said. 'But I think a little bit of frustration breaks certain guys - not every guy - but it doesn't take but one or two a game. And the frustrating thing this year is it's been different guys. A guy will get frustrated because he's not making shots. I think a lot of it is that. If our offense isn't working, our defensive spirit goes down and we end up losing the game."

Rivers added, "guys get frustrated and they give in. We have to figure out how to fix that. Guys get frustrated and they start hanging their head and then their compete level goes down."

And throughout the course of a long season, there are going to be games like that from time to time.

But it has been like that throughout the bulk of this season for the Celtics.

And while they maintain that there's still a lot of season left to be played, at some point the C's have to turn the corner.

Otherwise, all the dreams and hopes they had for this season will be just that - dreams and hopes with no shot at ever being fully realized.

And the road to redemption for the Celtics begins this week, one man at a time.

Pare 'brings energy' as big-bodied, sixth-round Bruins pick

Pare 'brings energy' as big-bodied, sixth-round Bruins pick

CHICAGO – The Bruins aren’t ever going to shy away from big, strong centers with a willingness to play on the physical side, so it was no surprise they selected big French-Canadian center Cedric Pare in the sixth round of the NHL Draft Saturday at the United Center.

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The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Pare was described as “a project” by Bruins assistant general manager Scott Bradley, who said that he’s looking forward to the big-bodied forward playing a top-six role in the QMJHL next season. Pare had five goals and 16 points in 64 games for the Saint John Sea Dogs before posting three points in 18 playoff games. Bradley said the Bruins hope to see more offense as he gets more exposure as a player.

“Pare is a developed kid that we got in the sixth round. He went to the Memorial Cup and we’ve seen good things from him. We think we got good value there,” said Bradley. “He plays with a lot of energy and I think his skating is undervalued. Over the course of the year he really picked it up with his skating, and his stride has lengthened a little bit. We just like that he plays with energy and he scored in the Memorial Cup despite playing a limited role.

“He was playing on the fourth line last year. I think this year he’ll be playing on one of their top lines as a top-six forward and he’ll get a lot of ice time...hopefully get some good development there.”

Pare indicated that the Bruins had shown interest in him throughout the season and he had an idea the Black and Gold might call his name in the later rounds. While there’s always room in the B’s prospect cupboard for a big-bodied center that plays with plenty of energy, it remains to be seen if Pare was worth using a sixth-round pick on when there are plenty of big-bodied hockey players out there willing to play with energy and aggressiveness. 

Bruins tap Maine-bound goalie Swayman in fourth round

Bruins tap Maine-bound goalie Swayman in fourth round

CHICAGO – It was thought the Bruins might swing for the fences with Boston University goalie Jake Oettinger, particularly if they traded down in the first round, but they ended up filling their goalie quota on Saturday in the fourth round of the NHL Draft at the United Center. The B’s selected University of Maine-bound Jeremy Swayman with the 111th pick in the draft after an impressive run for the Alaska native at Sioux Falls as a junior hockey player.

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The 6-foot-2, 183-pound Swayman posted a 2.90 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage in 32 games for a poor Sioux City junior team, but distinguished himself with his size, athleticism and competitiveness as the rare goalie prospect to come out of the great state of Alaska. Swayman was eating breakfast in his Alaskan home while watching himself get drafted by the Bruins. Needless to say, he was pumped as he readies for his first season in Hockey East.

“I’ve been working my whole life for this and just to kind of have the notion of, your work has paid off in a small area of time or a small trinket, it’s very worth all of the hard times and tough times, and kind of working at everything for it. It’s kind of a token back and just an incredible opportunity for sure,” said Swayman, who said he models his game after Braden Holtby while also envying Tuukka Rask’s flexibility. “I would describe myself as a challenge goalie. So, a competitive goalie just kind of fighting through traffic at all times. Being able to see the puck from anywhere on the ice, whether there is a screen in front or a point shot and, of course, a point blank shot. Again, I trust my ability on my skates. I have good feet. I can stay up longer than most goalies in situations where they would have to slide. So, I can stay up and cover more net on a backdoor pass, per say. I also like to cut down the angle a lot.”

Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley admitted that Swayman wasn’t the first choice of everybody at the B’s draft table, but said the scouts were confident making him the pick after another goalie was taken off the board before him. There were three goalies taken in the fourth round, including Prince Albert netminder Ian Scott taken one pick before the B’s selection, so it’s difficult to tell which other goalie Boston had their eyes on.

Clearly, the hope now is that Swayman follows in a proud tradition of stud Black Bears goalies that include Ben Bishop, Jimmy Howard, Scott Darling, Mike Dunham and Garth Snow, and that the B’s have drafted a new goalie of the future with Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre in the AHL.

“He’s a goalie that [Bruins goalie coach] Bob Essensa had really liked, and had scouted him. Most of our staff was on board with the goalie. We targeted another goalie, but he just went before our pick,” said Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley. “We heard good things from [the University of Maine] staff there, and we did our due diligence on him. We’re happy with him.”

It remains to be seen how Swayman develops in college, but the B’s hope it’s a steady, ascending development like that of McIntyre after they drafted him prior to his starring run at North Dakota.