When Kevin Garnett talks to the media, it's impossible to get the full message from just listening to what he says. It's not that he's bad with the media, he just makes sure to carefully analyze every question before giving an extremely measured response. One example, when asked about Doc Rivers calling the team soft back in November, you could see the pained look on KG's face as he answered the question, with this.
I don’t really want to say that. I don’t really want to say that we are soft because as men, and where I am from, you don’t call another man soft. … But you’re right, we need to start the games with some more physicality. We gotta meet the physicality when we get to a high level. When you find yourself on the heels, you gotta meet it head on. Coach’s assessment is what it is. You can take it as criticism or he is trying to make us better. It’s your call, but like I said, each guy has to look at himself in the mirror and believe he can do better.
That's why I found Garnett's comments after last night very interesting. When asked about how the Celtics started the game (they trailed 21-6 at one point), Garnett said this, per boston.com.
I thought we came out with too much respect (for the Clippers), We wanted to play back off some of their bigs and Blake (Griffin) hit some shot that he doesn't usually hit. They came out with a lot of confidence and they packed the paint and that is the reason why they have won 15 in a row. Teams like this, you have to come at them and attack them and we were not able to do that.
The bolded parts interest me most. What exactly does 'we came out with too much respect for them' mean? To me it means the Celtics came out intimidated. They knew the Clips were good, and instead of rising to that level - they collapsed under the pressure of playing an elite team, on their home court, in primetime. By the time they stemmed the rush, it was too late. And then when the Clippers got running again in the 3rd quarter - they blew the doors off the Green.
Garnett has been through just about everything in his 18 year career. He's played for a champion, he's played for teams that missed the playoffs, he's played on extremely young teams, and he's played for teams full of veteran leadership. There are very few situations that could catch him by surprise. But his teammates? That's a different story. There are a lot of role players new to the Celtics, that have not played up to their capabilities. And to me it seems like that quote from KG calling out those players a bit.
Last night was a bit embarrassing for a team that prides themselves on always playing hard, and never being afraid of the moment. And while it's entirely possible that the Celtics 'giving the Clippers too much respect' means something entirely different. I'm not so sure. The C's played a bit afraid, and that needs to change if they're going to turn this season around.
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Michael Dyer 12/28/2012 05:59:00 PM Tweet Edit