Kevin Garnett: ‘I can be better, and I will be’
|04.11.13 at 1:08 am ET|
In his first test since returning from a foot injury that cost him two weeks (he faced the Wizards on Sunday, but c’mon), Kevin Garnett didn’t live up to his own standards in a 101-93 loss to the Nets. If the Celtics have any hope in the playoffs, they need the Kevin Garnett that averaged 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds in 36.9 minutes last postseason, and he doesn’t seem to be available with a week left in the regular season.
“Absolutely, I can be better, and I will be,” said Garnett. “I can be better in every part of my game. It’s not just one decisive thing. Obviously, my timing is off a little bit, and I’ll get that.”
Garnett has precious little time to get that timing down. The Celtics have four games remaining in the regular season, and coach Doc Rivers might elect to rest his aging superstars with the No. 7 seed all but wrapped up. (“Whatever Doc wants me to do,” said KG.) Still, that doesn’t seem to worry Garnett all that much.
“I think we’re focusing too much on the playoffs that aren’t here yet,” said Garnett, whose 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes didn’t reflect his performance. “I think we need to focus and lock in on these games that we have left, and put the energy and the effort behind that. I think we’re stressing too much on the future, and the future’s not here yet. We need to take this one game at a time and then prepare for whatever’s after this.”
But there’s only a little over a week left before the playoffs, Kevin.
“We’re working on new schemes,” he said. “Doc said it postgame. The focus needs to be game over game. I agree. Chemistry is to the point where we’re still trying to bond it and correct some things.”
OK, but a first-round matchup with a Knicks team that has won 13 straight, including a pair of double-digit wins over the Celtics, looms around the corner. Is that enough time to iron out all this dirty laundry?
“We’re going to find out,” KG said.
Well, doesn’t that make everyone feel better. At least he seems to recognize the things he needs to fix.
“I’m super anxious around the basket, hurrying shots,” he said. “In the second half, I thought I was a lot better in motion, being consistent and being decisive in what I wanted to do. Sometimes I play against myself a little bit, but the second half I thought I did a better job of just settling in, taking my shots and being more aggressive.”
After finishing 1-for-6 in 15 first-half minutes, Garnett made 4-of-5 shots in the second half. Of course, he also committed three turnovers on the night and got burned by the bigger Brook Lopez (21 points on 14 shots). The entire Celtics defense caved in Avery Bradley‘s absence, and that doesn’t happen when KG is right.
“I thought we were inconsistent with some of the defensive things we were doing,” he said. “In the second half, we got more decisive, but when you’re playing uphill from the mud so to speak, it’s very tough. I say inconsistency, because at times we’re trapping and then we’re not trapping, guys are getting seven or eight dribbles, and that’s not what we do. We help each other. We’ve just got to tend to lean on that a little more, be one connected group out there. That’s the inconsistency I’m talking about. But we’ll fix it, man.”
Consistency seems to be the C’s new favorite word. That’s not a good thing in Game 75 of the NBA season.