Heart matters most to Garnett

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Heart matters most to Garnett

BOSTON -- If Kevin Garnett were to create his own statistical categories, you could expect to see some pretty unconventional measurements on there.

Forget about points, forget about rebounds. Garnett has his own system.

Prior to Saturday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers, head coach Doug Collins made note of the tens of thousands of minutes clocked by the Celtics veterans, a stark contrast to the young Sixers squad.Celtics head coach Doc Rivers passed along the message to his team, who responded with a 92-79 win following their one-point overtime loss the night before in Philadelphia.

After the game, Garnett (team high 19 points) offered up his own idea for monitoring NBA careers.

"One thing they don't keep track of is heart and cojones, ok?" he said. "You can monitor all the minutes you want, but you can't monitor someone's drive and what fuels them and motivations. Doc came in here and gave us that so, Doc's the best at getting the best out of us in certain ways and tonight was no different from that."

Collins noticed Garnett give the Celtics an extra spark during his 24 minutes.

"I love him, what hes all about," Collins said following the game. "He came in and his team was in a little bit of trouble, we got it to eight (points). I was hoping we could put a little game pressure on him to see what would happen. I knew they just lost a 17-0 lead, starting against Milwaukee the other night, getting them in a situation maybe get the game close, where maybe for three or four minutes maybe something could have happened. But Kevin put that to rest real quickly and we let (Chris) Wilcox get up under us twice for dunks, which was just lazy plays on our part.

Garnett was proud of his teammates for playing well in the categories that matter the most to him.

"It feels good," he said. "Philly's played us tough a couple times so this is not the last we're going to see of them. Doug gets those guys up and ready to play us, for some reason they play us well. Tonight I was just glad we were able to not only defend home court and be solid at home, but after last night's performance, everybody came here with a little chip on their shoulder so we need to play with a little edge more and more often."

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

BOSTON – While there were some warning signs over the last few weeks that the Bruins might be getting away from their game, it didn’t really hit home until Thursday night’s frustrating loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

The Bruins blew through three different one-goal leads in the second period in the 6-3 loss to the Bolts at TD Garden, and each time surrendered a tying goal to Tampa in less than two minutes after initially scoring. It was a clear indicator that the Bruins weren’t fully focused on the task at hand despite having already lost three games in a row, and that their ability to bounce back from adversity is going away from them again. 

That much was obvious when the bottom dropped out in the third period, and Jonathan Drouin and Nikita Kucherov turned into a two-man Lightning wrecking crew outscoring the Bruins by a 3-0 margin in the final 20 minutes. 

“I think the frustration is more in-game, where we’ve got to have a stronger mental capacity to handle those [challenging] situations in-game. Let’s face it, when you get on a bit of a losing streak, all those things creep in, whether it’s in October or whether it’s in March,” said Bruce Cassidy. “You have doubts, you start pressing, and again, it’s my job to alleviate the kind of attention in those situations.

“But, as I told you, we all have to be accountable and be responsible for ourselves, and that’s where we just need to have better focus and better discipline in those areas. It was there when it was 3-3 [on the scoreboard]. We’ve got to push back after they score, and that’s where I thought we started to come apart a little bit where we should’ve stuck together and stuck with the program. [We needed to] get ourselves slowly back into the game. We had 10 minutes to even the score, and we weren’t able to do it.”

Clearly this wasn’t just the coach alone in his pointed observations, however, as the lack of focus showed unfortunately in a rudderless second period for the Black and Gold where they couldn’t gain any separation from Tampa Bay despite scoring three goals. 

“[It’s] not being focused, not being sharp, and obviously at this time of the year it’s unacceptable, and it’s up on us to be better,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “Those kinds of situations shouldn’t happen. So, for sure, we need to address those things and hold each other accountable.”

One thing is clear: The Bruins have a lot of work to do if they hope to avoid the same kind of late season tailspin that doomed them each of the last two seasons, and already seems to be happening over their last four losses to varying levels of hockey talent. 

Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

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Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

Here are the talking points from the Boston Bruins' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.