Kevin Garnett: ‘We’re all in’ for Game 3
|05.06.11 at 1:12 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The Celtics have never been down 2-0 in a playoff series in the Kevin Garnett era, and they are well aware of the situation.
“The urgency is there,” Garnett said on Friday before the team took the practice floor. “This is it. We’ve used all of our lifelines. This is it. I hate to say it like that, but it’s true. There’s not a: Cool, keep your composure. Nah, this is: You’ve got to get the next game.”
He continued, “We’re taking their best shot. I still don’t think we’ve played our best basketball, and we’ve got to do that. We can’t just come out here and talk about it. We’re not on the white sands of the beach [any] more. We’re back in the jungle. Hopefully that’ll do some good for us. We’ll figure it out. I told you man, we’re all in. I’ve got two pocket kings and I’m all in. Let’s do it.”
Over the years the Celtics have responded favorably to adverse situations. In 2008 they won a pair of Game 7s after failing to win any of their road games against Atlanta and Cleveland and then closed out the Pistons on the road to advance to the NBA finals. In 2010 they rallied from two separate one-game deficits against the Cavaliers and Lakers.
“I like our chances, especially with our backs against the wall,” Paul Pierce said. “We’ve been a team that’s responded well the last few years when we’ve come across adversity. I expect us to respond in a very positive manner.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers also said that he expects his team will play better, but he cautioned against his players trying to do it all by themselves.
“You’re down 2-0 and you want to look inside yourself first and see what you can do better,” Rivers said. “You do it as a coaching staff, you do it individually as players and then hopefully you do it together as a team. The risk whenever you’re down in anything you tend to want to go inside yourself and do it yourself and that never works.”
INJURY UPDATES: There was some good news for the Celtics as Pierce returned to practice after sitting out Thursday’s session to rest his strained left Achilles, an injury he suffered in the first quarter of Game 2. Pierce did return to the game and he said he’s feeling better.
“I actually feel good about this,” he said. “Once you turn 30 your body comes back a little bit slower. I was able to come back into the game that night and really had no further ill effects from it after the game or yesterday or today. I’m very confident.”
Shaquille O’Neal also is expected to practice for a second straight day, and Rivers said that he still expects Shaq to play in Game 3. “I am confident,” Rivers said. “I can’t guarantee anything, but I am very confident.”
ADJUSTMENTS?: Are there little things the Celtics can do better? Of course. Garnett mentioned those notorious 50-50 plays, NBA code for getting to loose balls and long rebounds. On the court there will be some tweaks in coverage and possibly in lineups where Miami has had an advantage with some of their more unusual sets.
Don’t expect any wholesale changes, however. The Celtics can’t commit double teams to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on a regular basis because of the presence of both James and Wade. That’s not their style anyway. They simply have to execute their offense and defense better.
“We have to play better,” Rivers said. “The bottom line is we can’t look for some witch doctor, we just have to play better. We’re capable of doing it without a ton of adjustments. We can do that and I think we will.”
GARNETT’S MAGIC NUMBER: On the one hand, Rivers was more than pleased that Garnett took 20 shots in Game 2. On the other, he missed 12 of those attempts.
According to HoopData, Garnett went 2-for-6 on shots within 10 feet of the basket and was 2-for-9 from 16-23 feet. During the regular season, Garnett was one of the most efficient long-range shooters among big men in the league. His sweet spot in Game 2 was the mid-range, where he knocked down four of his five attempts between 10-15 feet.
“He got the shots, I just thought he was a little too quick at it,” Rivers said. “He was rushing them, but I liked the 20 attempts. I think we can do a better job of getting him the 20 attempts, but I do think we have to keep that number. I like most of them, I just thought he rushed a couple of them. We missed a ton of them right in the paint, and Kevin doesn’t miss those shots.”