Monday, June 16th, 2008 at 2:50 pm  |  98 responses

The Likeable But Not Clutch One

By Sam Rubenstein

Over the weekend, Khalid took the time to ask the simple question, what’s the deal with the Kobe love/hate stuff, for real? His performance last night was, in a word, weird. To be completely honest, I do not understand what was happening with him out there, it had to be more than Tom Thibodeau’s drawings. But enough about Kobe (ha ha, yeah right). Let’s take a look at the other side of the face they split into halves for the ad campaign.

Kevin Garnett

“It was trash,” Garnett would later say of his performance, this after the Lakers had claimed a 103-98 victory over the Celtics. “I played like garbage tonight. I can do better and I will.”

“I could never really get into a rhythm,” Garnett said. “I was playing on my heels the whole night.”

“Those are free throws I know I can hit,” he said. “But I’ll take them again if you put me in that situation. I’ll have the confidence to knock them down.”

The MVP of a team doesn’t always win Finals MVP. James Worthy won it for the Lakers, Joe Dumars won it for the Pistons, Tony Parker won it last year. But it’s really kind of bizarre that the Celtics potential Finals MVP pecking order is Pierce, Allen, Posey?, Garnett. I am one of those people that always disliked Karl Malone and always enjoyed watching KG, because of their personalities and their games. But you have to admit, they seem to be handling The Finals at crunch time similarly.

So now I ask you another extra vague question. What is the deal with KG?

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  • BK

    He’s SOFT!!!!!!!!!

  • BK

    He’s SCARED!!!!!!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    He’s never been clutch. Great player, apparently great guy, but never been clutch. And — I’ll say it on record, again — Paul Pierce should get AS LEAST as much team MVP consideration as KG has.


    KG is a Fugazzi tough guy

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    what’s the deal with the Lakers and the Celtics? The Celtics played mediocre throughout the playoffs, and lead 3-2 in the Finals. The Lakers are playing very well throughout the playoffs, but are down 2-3 in the Finals.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Here we go……….

  • http://slamonline.com The Biz

    Through the whole game he seemed on nerve and was afraid to attack the rim he’s a high emotion guy I’m the same way

  • http://www.oldschoolball.com Mike Padmore

    Garnett needs to realize that he is an MVP. Pau Gasol has been guarding him for the majority of the series and it seems as though Garnett isn’t seeing it. Garnett is a superior offensive force when he asserts himself. He is settling for his fadeaway 10 foot jumper when he should be going at Gasol who has proved in the past to be a sub par defender. If Garnett comes out in Game 6 and shows why he is “The Big Ticket”, then the Celtics will be hoisting the trophy.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    the Finals been kinda exciting, but for what it’s worth, it’s been exciting garbage. instead of trying to best each other, these two teams are just trying to find ways to not lose. i expect the two best teams to go into one of those “whatever you do, i’ll do them better” mode; instead we get “damn there goes the ball again!”

  • http://fjkdlzf.com Jukai

    I don’t like him cause of his wife.

  • http://slamonline.com The Biz

    The Celtics be more selfish I’m tired of the passing and then it get’s stolen and the Lakers score

  • RV

    he doesn’t know how to plau Pau, every time he gets it down low there’s no one around, no double team, just him and pau, and he starts rocjing left and right while trying to butt Pau back, that’s all he does, then he either hooks it or takes a turnaround jumper. Pau is too long to limit yourself to shooting over him while he’s standing straight, he needs to face him up, spin around him, anything where Pau isn’t just sitting back waiting and wher ehe can get Pau off his feet to commit a foul.

  • B. Long

    Ditto Ryan.

  • RV

    also, the way KG has been playing him with just hooks and Js allows Pau to keep the inside rebounding position, going around him or getting him moving allow KG to get more offensive boards.

  • Mister T

    KG had a bad game. THAT’S ALL! He got in early foul trouble (and not all of those fouls legitimate), and couldn’t find a role on a crazed offense. Doc was throwing bizarre (but occasionally effective) mixes on the floor.

    The Lakers are a tough match-up for KG. KG is incredibly versatile–great outside shot, inside defense, speed, passing; he carried the team in the playoffs. He’s not a good post-up defender, and that would not naturally be his position. But the Celtics are slow at the center, so KG has to give up size to Gasol (while giving help on Odom and Kobe inside).

    Why make such a big deal out of one poor game (where he still scores 13 points and pulls in 14 boards)? Isn’t this rant just the same media hype that real sports fans are supposed to see beyond?

  • http://myspace.com/mrdyalekt d.Y.

    He’s not in Tim Duncan’s class. Those comparisons must stop as well. Without comparing him to Tim, he’s a fine player who just doesn’t have the will to take over games.

  • RV

    and i agree he’s never really been clutch, but if people are thinking that clutch is just showing up because its the finals, then it shouldn’t be an excuse for him, not taking/making a shot in the final minute is more excusable, but as a superstar he should stilll be showing up the rest of the game with typical KG numbers

  • Big Boss

    KG still has time. Dont praise him and say hes fallin off the next day. Celtics on tuesday. Over

  • B. Long

    He needs to take a page out of Kobe’s…errr…nevermind.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    I’d love to see KG come with a 42/22/6 next game just to prove everyone wrong, but it probably won’t happen.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    if he gets 30 points and 20 boards i’ll already be more than esctatic.

  • trouc

    it’s called defense folks. there’s two sides to the coin. also, didn’t he dunk it all over joe smith’s face to take the lead against the cavs in game 7 ?

  • Tom

    KG is too unselfish for his own good……this guy is skilled enough to average 30 and 20 for a season if he had the mindset. But thats not how he likes to play, and that same mentality is why he can’t hit those big shots when it counts……still got love for KG though, even though he’s a celtic.

  • thesubwayconnection

    So are we going to see the Hack-a-KG next game then?

  • RedRum

    he might get 50/30 but we all know that if the game is tight, it will be pierce or allen who take the last shot…

  • h to the izzo

    These Finals have given me a renewed respect for MJ and Duncan.

  • RedRum

    once again, listing all-time greats, I only put Duncan behind MJ and Magic. Yeap…higher than Bird…

  • h to the izzo

    RedRum:Wilt?Bill Russell?Kareem?Hakeem?BigO?

  • B. Long

    @h:ditto. I’m gonna pull an Eboy and start b!tching about how great the 90′s where again.

  • h to the izzo

    1. Larry Bird
    2. Jerry West
    3. Pete Maravich
    4. George Mikan
    5. John Stockton
    6. Rick Barry
    7. John Havlicek
    8. Bob Cousy
    9. Bill Walton
    10.Kevin McHale

  • http://fjkdlzf.com Jukai

    Favorite white guys?

  • h to the izzo

    10. Nat Turner
    9. Frederick Douglas
    8. Colin Fergusson
    7. That guy who shot Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy
    6. Walt Frazier
    5. Brother Marcus
    4. Brother Malcolm
    3. Any non-white
    2. Ethiopian Jesus
    My last two posts are what happens when racist idiots talk about the top ten list.

  • http://fjkdlzf.com Jukai

    My brother created a team in NBA2k8 consisting of Steve Nash, Pete Maravich, Rick Barry, Larry Bird, Bill Walton, John Stockton, Jerry West, John Havlicek, Dirk Nowitzski, Kevin McHale, Bob Cousy, and Dave Cowens. I did the opposite. He never won.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Someone needs to turn the comments section off for a week or so after the Finals. Things have just gone from bad to worst lately. Man.

  • h to the izzo

    In my defence,I didn’t make these list I read them on a thread on a different site discussing the top 10 all time,I thought they were stupidly noteworthy,my bad though,I shouldn’t have.

  • B Deezy

    i’ve always loved KG, even seein’ him ball wit’ pierce n ray-ray instead of steph, but it doesn’t seem like he’s even interested in the most important games of his career(so far) and that leaves alot to be desired so even if the lakers manage to take it to 7, here’s to KG gettin’ that ring…

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    i like how Russ skipped “worse” in his comment. yeah. bad to worst is definitely ringing true right now. people seemed to all lost their heads the past week and a half.

  • ciolkstar

    No Kidding. KG sucks! Pau is soft! Whats wrong with Kobe?… And vice versa

  • ciolkstar

    Honestly though, I want KG to have a big game when the C’s capture the ring. He deserves it. And for those who keep complaining about 10 ft turnaround jumpers from KG: Thats his game! I actually want Kobe to play well too. we still need a “classic” game where both teams play as well as they can.

  • http://spaceshipjay/myspace.com Spaceship Jay


  • Rico

    The problem with KG is that the Lakers are cheap. They’re throwing sucker punches and shoving whenever the refs aren’t looking. I won’t hate on the players for doing this, I blame Phil-J for making them do it. This is just a bunch of crap!

  • Mike C

    The notion that Posey’s been more valuable than KG is just absurd. Kobe would be averaging about 37 a game if Garnett wasn’t doubling him every time he touched the ball.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    KG has rebounded well and defended well in every game. He also moves the ball. He has always struggled as a scorer, particularly in the clutch. That’s just a fact. But, he’s teh anchor for that team defensively, and a great facillitator on offense. I would like to see him kill offensively, but it’s probably not going to happen. However, he has had moments in the Finals where he has dominated Pau.

  • peteb80

    In slamonline comment world “not being clutch” and it’s derivative “being soft” are the worst character traits anyone can ascribe to a player. Worse than being lazy, a dirty player, a pompous jacka$$, a team cancer, a greedy, selfish a-hole, etc.

  • AC

    KG is an awesome player with a constant knock on him for not being able to be the guy to individually bring a team “over the hump.” But he does everything else! He can keep a team going, carrying their butts to within feet of the finish line. Now that he has two others who actually like taking the big shots and rolling up when he needs them… He’ll be a winner, and a great player. Whatever anyone else thinks, I agreee KG isn’t the take over down the stretch player, but I also say you can’t get to the stretch without him.

  • http://www.myspace.com/fresh2def6 Teddy

    Man wtf? Nobody can honestly say KG is soft or scared lay off the dog food homie you might be gettin stupid. I don’t know what his deal is but something is up with Kobe too. I don’t know if he can’t anymore or maybe its just not as easy anymore but he isn’t really taking over games like he used to. I know yall see it too, maybe he’s gettin…old?..i don’t know.

  • Michael

    Once again people come down on Kg for not being clutch and complely ignore the fact that Kobe is crapping all over himself.

  • http://www.myspace.com/fresh2def6 Teddy

    I wasn’t talkin 2 the person above me I was addressing the topic in general…and the first two comments.

  • http://firemitchkupchak.com Jackie Moon

    Yup, Michael. Kobe is playing so horribly. He sucks. And his “steal”, that was a foul. MJ would have swept this Celtics team with one arm tied behind his back. Lose a 24 point lead? MJ maybe. But his team would have had a 40 point lead, and won.

  • RV

    Allenp you’re right, but i’d like to at least see a good FG % from him, if he’s going to settle for 15 pts a game thats cool, just dont do it on 20 shots, i’d rather see Ray or Paul shoot. Kg is shooting 40% this series, he needs to be efficient at least, stay 15 feet in, get some FTS, pass instead of taking long jumpers.

  • RV

    Jackie, wasn’t it a foul?

  • Tommy Patron

    This is not a very interesting discussion. KG has been the same player almost the whole time he’s been in the league. Why is this a problem? Meanwhile, Kobe busy pretty much doing d*ck during the Finals. KG’s not supposed to carry his team offensively, Kobe is.

  • RV

    trouc, the lakrs haven’t played good D on KG, they dont have to when he’s taking bad shots

  • foolio_iglesias

    Actually,Kendrick Perkins is a fake tough guy,not Garnett.Garnett is a high intensity player.I also noticed that all he really does is shoot jumpshots (pretty well).He has to hype himself up most of the time.I don’t mind if Boston wins,my question is,will they be there again after this season?Seems like another rental team ala Miami couple years ago….

  • Mendel

    well it seems to me things in minny were fairly acurate and you need a deep back court ala casell and spree to make things happen. He is an american born “eurotrash” nothing but jumpers. SOFT. shooting outside instead of being a BEAST down low. just trash. we saw what he did for two game sevens now, the expectation should not change. I hope those 15ft turnarounds keep fallin big man.

  • B. Long

    Kobe=The Game, MJ=Dr. Dre. FTH.

  • http://firemitchkupchak.com Jackie Moon

    @RV. Asking if it was a foul is too broad a question. The question should be: Do you think A) Kobe got all ball before he hit Pierce’s side, or do you think B) he missed altogether, and still hit Pierce’s side? If you think B, then I can’t really argue with you, I just disagree. Pierce said himself that Kobe got ball. If you think A, then it’s more of a disagreement about how fouls should be called. Because I think technically it’s a foul, but that is almost never called a foul if a player gets ball first, then makes contact afterwards.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    i think one small thing that stood out to me in yesterday’s game was posey grabbing the ball out of the air when it was about to hit rim after play was stopped from a whistle. and this happened twice. that is KG’s signature play, to not let anything go in, and never taking a second off the game even if it means nothing.
    To me, that shows KG’s no nonsense style and aggressive plays is transplanted to his teammates. everyone has picked up their all around games, stepped up their D, and maintained their intensity. they are all out all the time (effectiveness is an issue, of course), just like when posey dived to intercept an entry pass that would have let to a Lamar dunk. eddie house also plays all out all the time too. his defense is not very good, but watch him go for the defensive board with authority, when he has no business grabbing those boards with his size. paul pierce has picked up his defense immensely and now takes pride in it.
    before this series, i also wonder what exactly KG brought to the table this season; but now, i have no question about his leadership. his teammates proved it.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Finally back from Tennis-practice – had to work on that serve, hope she did well B. Long I could sense you needed it. Only a small man wouldn’t share with his fellow SLAM-brothers and since I’m big in every sense, I had no trouble letting you have a go :)

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Just too bad you only lasted until the end of the first game of my Tennis match. She started calling complaining about your performance, disturbing me just as I was honessing my Federer tricks.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    To touch on Kevin; as tough as he is on D, just as soft is he on Offense. Constantly shying away from contact, settling for jumpers an baby-hooks. I know this has always been his game but he should really come out aggressive, take it to Gasol and get him in foul trouble. Lakers without Gasol is toast. KG is not in the same league as Duncan, he’s on the all-time best supporting player team along with Pippen, Worthy, Dumars, McHale. But is just not that number one stud, we all want him to be.

  • RV

    jackie, i wasnt sure, only saw one replay and it didnt appear kobe hit the ball, but i’d agree that if he got ball first and then hit paul it shouldn’t be called.

  • http://firemitchkupchak.com Jackie Moon

    @RV, it’s tough to see even in slo-mo, because Kobe’s hand is partially blocked from view by PP’s arm, but by the motion of the ball, it does appear that he got the ball first, then followed through hitting PP’s side. He definitely does not get PP’s elbow or anything like that.

  • Kamran

    rondo has better d than him!the only reason he got credit is because he is more popular than rajon!

  • tealish

    It was a foul. Just because a star doesn’t throw a tantrum when he loses the ball, doesn’t automatically mean he didn’t get hit. You’ve been watching Kobe too much.

  • Benoit Benjamin

    True KG ain’t clutch. But does it really matter? The celts have a clutch guy in Pierce and Allen can take the big shot, or at least could. And I don’t believe it’ll stain his legacy either. Wilt wasn’t clutch, Magic wasn’t considered clutch until his junior, junioe skyhook. Would you have let bill russell take that last clutch shot? Greatness is not just about being clutch; Sometimes not at all;

  • http://fjsdklf.com Jukai

    …. Wilt and Magic weren’t clutch…?

  • http://fjsdklf.com Jukai

    Plus Russel would get 30 rebounds and 10 block shots. Once Garnett does that, he doesn’t have to touch the damn ball.

  • http://firemitchkupchak.com Jackie Moon

    @tealish – So, you don’t think Kobe poked the ball before he hit Pierce on the side? Apparently, you haven’t been watching Kobe enough.

  • whooo!

    as others have said, i think it comes down to looking at KG for what he is, instead of what he’s not. he has constantly been compared to Tim Duncan, as they both came in at the same time and have been the two best pf’s in the game for a decade. but KG isn’t Timmy, he can’t carry a team like TD, can’t take over in the clutch like TD, and can’t win rings like TD. let’s think about him more like David Robinson.

  • whooo!

    that’s not to say that KG’s bad. D-Rob is an easy hall of famer who put up some crazy numbers along the way (71 pts, quadruple double!), and KG will go down as one of the best big men. he’s probably the most TALENTED big man who helped redefine the position, but he’s in a different league than the best to ever do it.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    He couldnt beat you with 4 PGs and no centre??…Either he’s crap at NBA2k8 …or….he didn’t use Nash properly.

  • LAN

    hes gonna hav a good game 6 n every1s gonna b like omg kgs the best

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Nah game six will belogn to KOBE. He’s talking about the team will ride it out, and team play will win…rah rah rah…he will drop a 5-BOMB on this celtics unit and force a game 7 showdown. Pau will also appear to play a few quarters too.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Let me just say whats not being said…KG is one of the best mid-range game/back to the basket defending SF’s ever to come into the league…

  • chintao

    I think dead prez (as well as most other people) agree that No. 7 on H to the Izzo’s second list is Sirhan Sirhan. Respect.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    KG is who he is, and who he’s always been. If that’s not good enough for you, so be it. He’ll be in the Hall of Fame, and we’ll all still be posting stupid comments on a basketball website.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    And if you’re saying “respect” to Sirhan Sirhan, PLEASE never post here again. I’m ready to quit this site entirely if the comments keep heading in this direction. I’m disgusted.

  • http://www.truthismygame.com/ Kevin

    whoever said Duncan is top 3 all time is an absolute retard. and i love Tim Duncan

  • KA

    im pretty cool with him not being clutch and i like his personae. im not cool with peeps hung up on him tho based on performance like hes the greatest thing evar. great in the flow guy, but not a real floor leader.

  • Paniscus

    I’m w/ Russ, but maybe a few steps past him. The comments on this site have gone way downhill over the past few months.

  • Chukaz

    I like what they did a couple of night ago (meaning the Lakers, of course). Lamar Odom finally went down low (he did it a little bit in game 5) and Gasol started doing what Lamar was doing the first 4 games of the series. Gasol is better taking bigs of the dribble because he has a nice little midrange jumper which keeps defenders honest (Odom was getting the Rondo treatment) which allowed him to really take it to the basket when facing the basket. With all that said, Kobe meet a new single game playoff scoring record, new single game playoff scoring record meet Kobe.

  • Chukaz

    You know what ruined my Sunday? Jon freakin’ Barry. The dude is like Stephen A. Smith if Stephen A. was 10x stupider. He has no idea what he is talkin’ about. When he said that the Lakers should be concerned about blowing a couple of big leads I was ready to break my TV. How ’bout the Celtics giving up big leads 2 straight games? How ’bout them almost blowing a 27(?) point lead? The Lakers don’t play championship caliber defense? Are you f*ckin’ kidding me, Jon Barry? How ’bout them Celtics giving up 41 4th quarter points @ home in game 2? How ’bout the Celtics giving up 60 point by half time of game 4? How ’bout the Celtics giving up 39 1st quarter points in game 5?

  • Chukaz

    Mark Jackson got on my nerves, too. I’m surprised he wasn’t hired to be the Knicks head coach. He showed last night he had no basketball knowled whatsoever, like Isiah Thomas. At the end of the game when Eddie House hit a 3 from the corner he said some bullsh*t like “If I was Phil Jackson, I would feel sick by my teams defense on that shot.” Kobe clearly contested the shot the way he should’ve. House’s shot was a rainbow (because Kobe has like a foot on him), nothing Kobe could’ve done there, besides, I would rather have House shoot a 3 then Ray Allen or Paul Pierce.
    @ Mark Jackson: If you were Phil Jackson, you would be on an NBA bench coaching, not on TV.

  • http://www.complex.com/blogs/2008/06/10/celtics-vs-lakers-the-wifey-showdown/ SOUSS

    Ahh, Love this thread…
    And I’ve been called foolish and ignorant for bringing this subject a couple of days ago…

  • Aussie Gus

    Paul Pierce… Clutch
    Ray Allen… Clutch
    KG… Not so Clutch

  • Froggiestyle

    Well, I’ve been sayin since the Celt’s got into the playoffs – KG is on his knees every nite prayin and thanking up above for having guys around him who can make clutch shots – especially someone that takes the heat off him in the 4th. KG is a great guy and a tremendous all around talent. But he’s not the guy who you can count on to come up big where your team needs it on the scoreboard – lucky for him he doesn’t have to. MVP no way, MDP most dedicated player – ok if you like. Talk to anyone from Minny – the number of times we had to see a clock tick down, final possession, ball in KG’s hands, and and and, that fluckin p*ssy fade away that when it swishes thru the net you think he’s a genius, BUT when it bricks and the team loses after having a strong chance of winning you can only shake your head and say, man we need a finisher. They should put an asterisk on KG’s ring when they hand it to him to remind him of his fade away act in the finals.

  • Harlem_World

    Basketball is a TEAM game. Sum of the parts wins out over the force of one. Always. KG brings more overall than anyone else, but you need guys like PP and Ray to finish the job. As said many times before, he has always been this way – and its not a bad thing. The frustration is on those who try to put him into a TD type box. They are different players. Learn to accept that. On a side note, that PP is a bad mothafonka.

  • dfrance

    Everyone is being way too critical of the guy. Would the Celts have goten this far without him. Like most rational people have said, he’s been the same player his entire career, so magically he’s supposed to be a clutch go-to guy because it’s the Finals??? Be real, I guess Rondo is supposed to be a knock-down shooter because its the Finals too huh? He bring things to the table that very few players do, and most of it cannot be found on a stat sheet! I can remember one game in the playoffs when he took over though. It was the Conf semis clincher against the Kings in 2004 and he really took it to them and had like 30 and 20 or something like that. I wish he would play like that every game, but it’s not in him and I don’t expect it. And most importantly, I don’t think he any less of a great player because he doesn’t…

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Another thread of sh*t.

  • matt the jazz fan

    kg hit a couple of cluuutch shots in the post in that incredible comeback win in game four, lest we forget…

  • Froggiestyle

    Eboy you should know something about sh*t and the talking thereof.

  • rikson

    A magnificent player without tough game experience – thats all. Its your fault KG…

  • youngmuggsy

    Can somebody slap doc rivers round the face and tell him to call some plays for KG in the post, yeah he’s got a great J, but they don’t need that with Perkins out and a bench full of shooters.

  • youngmuggsy

    Even Jack Nicholson likes KG.

  • http://Lebronisoverrated.com Free Vick

    How can people call KG a good guy? Not only is he an annoying twit on the court but apparently he also cheats on his wife with cheerleader. Fake tough guys. Always thought it was funny how everyone gives KG a pass for being a loser.

  • Penny Hardaway

    @Free Vick
    We’re talking about basketball players.

    @Without KG, would we be talking about Boston being clutch in the 2008 finals??

    But people keep looking for superheroes

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Garnett is the one that gets you in a position to win games….but you need to suplant that with clutch scorers. Why would Garnett get into the playoffs in the W. But not make it further than round 1? Clutch….He’ll get you to the podium no doubt. Just need a paul pierce/ray allen to make that final play.
    BASICALLY GARNETT BEATS PIPPEN AS THE BEST 2ND BEST PLAYER ON ANY TEAM (over the past 10 years, in the current league dynamic).