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I love Kevin Garnett. I'm sure I'm not the only one, but the reason I love him might be a bit different than most. It's the way he talks. Guy is just so damn passionate about everything, especially his basketball team. That's why following the C's worst road trip since the Civil War - it was no surprise to see Garnett come out after the game with an interesting perspective. KG was asked about the team's horrific performance on defense this year compared to year's past (the Celtics rank 18th in the NBA in points allowed per game this season. They have finished in the top 5 in each of the previous five seasons), and he didn't mince words, per MassLive.com.
We built something here, I’m not living in the past or nothing, but the reason why guys came back and made additions to this team is because of what we built here. We’ve been known to defend. For some reason we’ve gotten away from that, so we’ve got to go back to our origins and figure it out. I told y’all (Saturday) night, these are the times when you’re going to see who really wants it, who really is willing to work to change this.

These are dog days. This is when you really see who’s with you right now. You know, ain’t nobody cheering. Ain’t no lights on us right now. And I love this right here, because this is when all the plastic people melt. So we’ve all got to look at ourselves in the mirror, including myself, and try to figure out what I can do better to help this team.

It's clear that Garnett, who's been through it all, is viewing this awful stretch as an opportunity to find out which of his teammates are 'grinders'. Which ones have the grit and balls type mentality that this team has had in the past. Because right now - the team is as soft as wet tissue paper.

While Garnett spoke about how the team needs to get back to what they've done over the past few years, Rajon Rondo made sure to point out that this team is far from the same team that pushed the Heat to the brink last season.

That doesn’t really matter now, because we’ve got, like, nine different players. There’s only about three guys who’ve been here and did that. It’s not like this is the same team that turned it around late and knows how to do that. So I don’t compare it to last year or other years.

Even though we’ve gotten off to slow starts the last two or three years and turned it around, each year is different. Each team is completely different. So I’m not banking on that.

I've written about it before but it's worth mentioning again. This year's team is more talented than last year's. Garnett and Pierce have barely regressed. Rondo is in his prime. Bass has struggled with his shot but is basically the same player. And then you have the rest of the team. Terry/Green/Lee/Sullinger/Wilcox/Barbosa are worlds more talented as a group than Allen/Pietrus/Dooling/Hollins/Stiemsma/Moore. Yet the team appears worse.

How is this happening? Are the players they've added simply not tough enough? Have they acquired too many skilled offensive players in lieu of guys who can play good defense? Or are we simply overreacting to a terrible three game stretch that leaves the team in basically the same situation they were in at this point last year (they were 15-17 at the All-Star break last year).

One thing's for sure though, the heat has been turned up on this team. Their margin for error is basically non-existant if they want to make a run at the Atlantic title, and we're about to find out what these guys, specifically the new ones, are made of.

Big thanks to Celtics Town for the quotes

Follow Mike on twitter - Mike_Dyer13

Michael Dyer 12/31/2012 04:22:00 PM Edit
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