|Kevin Garnett’s big challenge||05.20.10 at 2:25 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Rashard Lewis is a monster scorer, but Kevin Garnett is a monster defender, and through two games, Garnett has gotten the better of his longtime rival. Not only has Lewis not been able to score — just 11 points — he hasn’t even been able to get shots off — just 16 in two games.
Credit for that goes mainly to Garnett, along with Glen Davis, who have a hand in his face on almost every jump shot he’s attempted. In Game 1, both of Lewis’ made shots came on simple put-backs from offensive rebounds. In Game 2, his one made 3-pointer, the only one he’s made in the series, came on a wide open look off a kickout.
But on his other 13 shot attempts there has been a Celtic defender close by.
“Nothing,” Doc Rivers said when asked about any special coverages. “We just guard him. He’s actually had some shots that he’s not made. I think the key to us guarding Lewis, or any of their guys, is the better we are in pick and roll, the quicker we’re back in our rotations. If we can’t get back, Lewis is wide open.”
It’s true that Lewis has missed some shots that he would ordinarily make, but that’s only because he’s such an extraordinarily talented shooter. Rolling through his shot attempts with the help of Synergy Sports, Lewis has had only one clean look at a jumper, his made 3 in Game 2. In all the others, Garnett or Davis were out contesting his shots with a hand in his face.
“Trying to keep my hand up,” Garnett said. “Baby and myself have the responsibility. Tell you the truth, a lot of the focus is on Jameer [Nelson] and Dwight [Howard]. I’m sure he’ll be real aggressive in Game 3, so I’m anticipating that.”
Keeping Lewis in check is Garnett’s top priority, but the Celtics also need his offense and he had made shot just 9-for-30 in the series. The Celtics like the number of shot attempts, in fact they want more, but Rivers is not easing off his demands that Garnett be a two-way player against the Magic. Even though he knows that it won’t be easy.
“In this series, they’re denying him with the double teams on the post,” Rivers said. “We knew that coming into it. What we’re trying to do is get him to the elbows and get him to the spots on the corner to stretch the floor.”
Garnett missed eight of his first nine shots in Game 2, but they were able to get him looks on the perimeter that they will gladly take again. Garnett has to continue to be aggressive. His signature play came in the third quarter when he allowed Howard to close before he hit him with a pump fake. As Howard flew by him, the lane was wide open and Garnett roared down the middle of the paint for a dunk.
“That was great,” Rivers said. “Because he was taking his time. I thought he was going fast for a game and a half and finally he slowed down a little bit and it allowed him to play.”
Garnett won’t be able to operate with only token resistance on the post as he did against the Cavs in this series, but the Celtics are finding ways to make him an integral part of the offense. Now he has to make a few, and continue to keep Lewis in check.
|Garnett’s tough cover||05.18.10 at 11:45 am ET|
ORLANDO — Whenever he is asked about the toughest players to cover in the NBA, Kevin Garnett always pays respect to Rashard Lewis. At 6-foot-10, Lewis is one of the best 3-point shooters in the league, but he also can put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket.
Lewis shot 2-for-10 in Game 1 and scored just six points, a far cry from last season’s playoff matchup when the Celtics couldn’t come up with an effective counter without Garnett in the lineup.
“KG was phenomenal,” Doc Rivers said. “Not only with Rashard, but with help and recovering. We’re asking him to recover from pick and roll angle to 3. Usually you recover from pick and roll to roll where you’re running under the basket. That’s the complete opposite direction. For him to train his mind to do that is really tough to do. With Rashard, you show [on the pick and roll] and you have to sprint the opposite direction. Eighty games of going that way and now you’re going this way, mentally that is really difficult. You can even see it in practice where he shows and takes a step this way, with Rashard if you take that one, you’re not getting back in time. He did a great job in Game 1.”
Garnett’s offense did not come as readily. He shot 4-for-14 and found himself out on the perimeter. Credit the Magic defense with making it difficult for him to get the ball in the post.
“They double team without the ball,” Rivers said. “You don’t see that very often. With [Kendrick Perkins] in there or [Rajon] Rondo, they use their guy to front and back Kevin so you can’t get it to him. We have to get it to him on movement plays. Once we get it to him I feel very confident.”
|The future of Lebron James||05.14.10 at 3:33 am ET|
The Cavaliers were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night at TD Garden. After the game, Lebron James spoke about his future to the media. Kevin Garnett and Mike Brown also talked about the future of the NBA superstar.
|Ainge on The Big Show: Both teams ‘desperate’||05.13.10 at 7:48 pm ET|
Celtics president Danny Ainge joined The Big Show Thursday evening to talk about Boston’s success against Cleveland and the importance of closing out the series in Game 6 at TD Garden.
“Both teams are very desperate to win this game tonight, for obvious reasons,” Ainge said. “I think that’s why it will be a good game.”
Ainge also touched on the amount of criticism LeBron James received after the Cavaliers’ lopsided loss in Game 5.
Below is a transcript. Visit The Big Show audio on demand page to hear the interview.
It’s been a bizarre series, do you have any idea what to expect tonight?
I have no idea. I would be shocked if it was going to be any sort of blowout like we’ve had in a couple of games in the series. I expect both teams to be ready, they know what they’re doing, they kind of know the strengths and weaknesses, and I’d be shocked if it wasn’t a close game.
Kevin Garnett spoke about the sense of urgency after the last game about treating this is as a Game 7 and not as a Game 6. Do you like that approach?
Yeah, I think so. Both teams are very desperate to win this game tonight, for obvious reasons. I think that’s why it will be a good game.
You guys have really played great defense from the initial point of attack.
I think the identity of this team is defense. I think we’ve gotten back to that in the playoffs. We’ve had a few bad spells, we let our guard down in Game 3 of course, but overall our defense has really stepped up, improved, and I think the effort each possession is better than the regular season. Read the rest of this entry »
|Perkins: ‘Without [Rondo], we’d be dead’||05.08.10 at 5:04 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Between Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett alone, it has never been easy to pinpoint the best player on the Celtics. Throw the development of Rajon Rondo into the mix this season, and the task is even tougher.
It’s easy, though, for Kendrick Perkins. Not only does he consider Rondo to be the C’s top player, he also considers him their lifeline.
“I think right now, he’s the best player on our team,” Perkins told WEEI.com following practice on Saturday. “Without Rondo, nothing goes. Pretty much we’ve got to play him the whole game because he just runs the whole team. Without him, we’d be dead.”
Rondo is playing a team-high 41 minutes per game in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Cavaliers. His numbers have consistently improved from the regular season throughout the playoffs. In the first three games against the Cavs, he leads with team with 19.3 points and 13.0 assists, more than five points and three assists better than the regular season. He is also shooting 56.8 percent from the field and averaging 5.0 rebounds, more boards than Allen and Pierce.
“I think he stepped up,” said Perkins. “He’s been more focused than ever, in my opinion, and he’s been doing a great job of leading us.”
|Garnett practices, feels good||05.06.10 at 2:29 pm ET|
WALTHAM –Kevin Garnett returned to Celtics practice Thursday and by all accounts, enjoyed a quick recovery from what the team called a right mid-foot strain.
“I’m feeling really good,” Garnett said. “Went through practice today. It was pretty hard. Good day. I’m not injured. I just banged my foot, got on the plane and it blew up on me. Nothing more, nothing less than that.”
Garnett added that, “I’ll definitely be ready to go [in Game 3, Friday].”
Garnett appeared to injure his foot when Kendrick Perkins landed on his foot in the first half. He sort of verified that version of events.
“Little bit,” Garnett said. “The good thing is I was able to finish the game strongly.”
Garnett, and Perkins (hyperextended knee) were both held out of practice Wednesday. Perkins was deemed precautionary and no one was surprised that he returned Thursday. Garnett’s was a little trickier. He apparently wanted to practice Wednesday, but was shut down by Doc Rivers.
“We live on the planet of Doc Rivers,” Garnett said. “And on that planet sometimes you have to sit out a day”
Rivers expressed his doubt yesterday that Garnett would have been able to practice, but he was pleasantly surprised by his recovery.
“He’s good,” Rivers said. “He went most of the practice and moved pretty well. I was surprised he went, yeah. Eddie [Lacerte, the team's trainer] and I, but the swelling went down a lot yesterday and none today. He said he didn’t feel any pain, so that was good. We expected Perk, but Kevin was a surprise. Perk looks fine. He moved pretty well. For Perk. He moved well for Perk.”
One way to tell that Garnett was feeling good was he was in a joking mood with the media. Someone asked him, how he “woke up Rasheed Wallace.” Garnett replied, “I slapped his [butt].” He was kidding. We think.
|Garnett, Perkins miss practice||05.05.10 at 2:55 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins both missed Wednesday’s practice with injuries, but both are expected to play Friday when the Celtics series with the Cavaliers resumes at the Garden.
Of the two, Garnett’s is apparently more worrisome. He suffered what the team called a right mid-foot strain late in the fourth quarter of Game 2. He arrived for practice but was told to shut it down by Doc Rivers.
“Honestly, today, if we had a game I don’t think he could have played,” Rivers said. “We just have to wait. I doubt if he’ll practice tomorrow. We’ll see. Perk we think will be all right. I don’t know if he can practice tomorrow either.”
Perkins suffered a hyperextended right knee during the team’s shootaround but did score 10 points and have nine rebounds in 30 minutes. He was also a team-best +20 in plus/minus. Perkins had a bout with knee tendinitis in March.
The Cavs have their own injury problems with LeBron James undergoing another MRI on his right elbow and Anderson Varejao missing part of the fourth quarter with back spasms. Varejao was examined by the team doctors Tuesday. The series has a three day break between games, which now seems like a very good thing for both teams.
“The rest, we were complaining, but now it turns out that rest is good for everybody,” Rivers said. “It’s probably good for Cleveland. They have a chance to get healthy.”
Garnett was not present to talk to the media Wednesday, but Perkins did an expressed confidence that both he and Garnett would play Friday.
“I’ll be ready for Friday,” Perkins said. “Hopefully I can practice [Thursday.] Kevin wanted to practice. He was mad that Doc wanted him to sit out. He’ll play.”
Perkins said that he hurt himself running and joked that he was, “just being clumsy. It happens.”
UPDATE: Garnett’s injury may have actually come in the second quarter when Perkins landed on his foot. Here’s the video: