Sheed takes heed from Garnett
|05.04.10 at 11:46 pm ET|
After the Celtics Game 1 loss to the Cavaliers, Doc Rivers said Rasheed Wallace had to play better.
Turns out, Rivers wasn’t the only one who wanted to see Wallace step up. Kevin Garnett also believed Wallace was critical to the Celtics postseason success, and he made it a point to tell him that.
“After the first game, I went to him in the shower and I said, ‘In order for us to beat this team, man, it’s going to take not just the starting five. It’s going to take Rasheed, it’s going to take Tony Allen, it’s going to take Marquis (Daniels), Big Baby (Glen Davis), Shelden Williams, everybody, Nate Robinson. It’s going to take everybody who’s on that bench,” Garnett told WEEI’s Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell following the C’s Game 2 victory on Monday (listen to the audio here).
Garnett has known his teammate long enough to understand his receptiveness — or lack thereof — to feedback. But fortunately for Garnett, who was in the 1995 NBA draft class with Wallace, he is on that short list.
“I went to him personally, you know, he don’t really listen to a lot of people,” Garnett explained. “Sheed sort of goes by his own tune and he only respects a few, and I’m one of the very few that he listens to and that he respects. And I went to him and I said, ‘If you give us 10 and 10, we’re going to not only beat these Cavs, but we’re going to blow them out.’ I said, ‘I need 10 and 10 every night with you, at least in this series right here.’”
Wallace shot just 1-for-5 and recorded more fouls than points in Game 1. But Garnett knew what Wallace was capable of, in spite of a disappointing regular season in which he averaged nine points, four rebounds, shot 28 percent from 3-point range, and was assessed numerous technical fouls and fines. He wanted Wallace to put that behind him, focus on the postseason series at hand, and provide the Celtics with a solid contribution off the bench.
“I said, ‘I don’t care what you’ve been going through. To hell with what the year is. So what? You can make it all up right here,’” Garnett recounted. “And I got into him a little bit. I rubbed him the wrong way a little bit. And then later on we talked. He said, ‘You’re right.’”
Whatever the driving force may have been, Wallace stepped onto the court in Game 2 and gave one of his best performances in a Celtics uniform. He scored an efficient 17 points (7-for-8 on field goals and 3-for-4 on threes) in 18 minutes. Even though Wallace didn’t do anything fancy, it was just what the Celtics needed.
“It was just good to see results,” said Garnett. “He’s a gutty veteran, he knows how to play, and it was just big. He was big for us.”