Love: Garnett 'does whatever he needs to do' to win

957419.jpg

Love: Garnett 'does whatever he needs to do' to win

BOSTON -- It has been five years since the Boston Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team with which he spent his first 12 seasons with and stayed loyal to through thick and thin.
Time has passed, Garnett has won a championship, and the Timberwolves have moved forward with Kevin Love at the helm.
Garnett shrugged off the significance of playing against his former team -- "absolutely not," he responded when asked if the Timberwolves bring out more in him than other squads -- but that doesn't mean his successor has any less of a challenge on his hands when the Celtics and Timberwolves meet.
On Wednesday, Garnett posted his fifth double-double of the season with 18 points (8-13 FG, 2-4 FT), 10 rebounds, and four assists during the Celtics 104-94 win.
How did Love describe Garnett's performance?
"Being Kevin Garnett," he said succinctly.
Love was drafted in 2008, one year after Garnett's departure. Now in his fifth season, he has been countered with a zoned-in veteran each time. Garnett entered the game averaging 14.3 points (60.9 FG), 10.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in six meetings against his former team.
"Hes intense," said Love. "Hes KG. Hes a guy that defensively hell clamp on you. He didnt leave me when he was out there more than once tonight, really clamped in. I think he hit big shots early, set the tone, set screens, and pokes and prods and elbows and jabs."
Garnett shot down the theory that he played with an extra spark because of his opponent. Rajon Rondo noted Garnett "plays well every time" against the Timberwolves but suggested asking Garnett himself for the reason. Paul Pierce has his own thoughts on the matter.
I think hes just accepted the challenge of playing against the top players, such as Kevin Love, in the game," said Pierce. "Hes recognized as one of the better power forwards and when Kevin (Garnett) matches up with him, he really takes on the challenge whether he was playing in Minnesota or somewhere else."
Following the game, Garnett focused his attention on the Celtics aggressiveness and defensive energy in their win. He spoke on trying to slow down Love and being efficient on the court. Amid a long list of what he went right in the game, none of the items included a personal victory against his former team.
That's part of the reason why it was easy for Love to characterize Garnett's game.
"He does whatever he needs to do in order for his team to win," said Love, "and that sums up Kevin Garnett to me."

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

BOSTON – This continues to be a historic season for Isaiah Thomas as more records fell in Wednesday’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee, and the company he’s keeping becomes even more exclusive. 

Thomas had a game-high 32 points on Wednesday which included five made 3’s on nine attempts. That gave him 223 for the season which is a new franchise single-season record for made 3-pointers. The previous record was 222 set by Antoine Walker during the 2001-2002 season.

And his 32 points scored gives him 2,012 this season. 

Only six players in franchise history (Paul Pierce was the last to do it during the 2005-2006 season) have scored 2,000 or more points in a single season. 

Oh, there’s more. 

With Wednesday being the 66th time this season he has had 20 or more points, Thomas has now tied Pierce (2005-2006) and Larry Bird (1985-1986; 1987-1988) for sixth on the Celtics’ single-season franchise list. 

“I didn’t even know that,” a visibly disappointed Thomas said following Wednesday’s loss. “It doesn’t feel that good right now. But when I look back on it, probably in the offseason, I’ll appreciate it a little more. But I’m just staying in the moment and try and play as best I can to lead this team to as many wins as possible.”

Other season milestones Thomas is in the mix for include the following:

  • The 5-foot-9 guard is one of three players this season to have 50 or more games of 25-plus points, joined by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (57) and Houston’s James Harden (54).
  • Thomas has made at least one 3-pointer in a franchise-record 50 straight games (Dec. 3 – March 29). That’s also the longest current streak in the NBA. 
  • With 66 games of 20 or more points this season, Thomas is second in the NBA to Westbrook (67).

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

BOSTON – One of the more bizarre plays in Boston’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee came in the second quarter, requiring some explanation from the officials afterwards. 

With 3:55 to play in the second quarter, the officials had originally called a foul on Marcus Smart which he verbally protested that eventually led to him being whistled for a technical foul. 

After the officials reviewed the play, they changed the call to a personal foul against Khris Middleton but no change to the called technical foul against Smart who objected to a call that, upon review, they agreed was the wrong call to make. 

Official Sean Corbin, through pool reporter Ken Powtak of the Associated Press, acknowledged that the original call was a loose ball foul against Smart. 

“The (officiating) crew got together, we met prior to video and we decided that we needed to look at video because both players were on the floor bleeding so we went to the video for a hostile act,” Corbin told Powtak. “In the review we noticed that Khris Middleton initially made contact to Marcus Smart’s face. That’s how the original contact to the play occurred.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, Middleton missed his technical free throw while Smart split a pair of free throws which cut Milwaukee’s lead to 49-40.

Still, that’s no consolation for Smart who was whistled for a technical foul on a play that the official acknowledged was the wrong call to make. 

In the fourth quarter, Smart was at the center of yet another controversial call that was also reviewed by the officials. The verdict wasn't nearly as good for Smart who was whistled for a flagrant foul after getting his feet tangled up with Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo who was called for a non-shooting foul in the play with 4:46 to play. 

Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws and on the Bucks' ensuing possession, he was called for traveling.

Smart was unavailable to talk after the game in part because the aforementioned incident left an abrasion to his mouth and, because of the technical foul, a little lighter in the wallet as well.