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Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 at 12:00 pm  |  14 responses

Kevin Garnett Came Through at Crunch Time

It’s one of the knocks during his storied career — that he shrinks from the moment at the game’s most heart stopping moments — but Kevin Garnett came up huge (on both ends of the floor) at crunch time last night. From WEEI: “In the final seconds of close Celtics games over the last four years, you remember Ray Allen coming off screens and lord knows you remember the Paul Pierce isolations. But the Kevin Garnett hook shots? Not so much. Less than a week ago, Jackie MacMullan wrote a piece that detailed Garnett’s lack of aggressiveness down the stretch of tight contests. Somewhere in the middle of it was this note: ‘In his time with the Celtics, KG has not attempted a single shot in the final 10 seconds of regulation or overtime in a playoff game.’ Well, scratch that off Garnett’s to-do list. In Game 2 of their first-round series, the Celtics trailed the Knicks by one with 19 seconds remaining when Rajon Rondo inbounded to Garnett out of the timeout. The Celtics forward proceeded to back Jared Jefferies down on the dribble, turn to his left and toss in a hook shot in the paint. The basket gave the Celtics a 94-93 advantage with 13 seconds left … The play may not have worked as Celtics coach Doc Rivers originally drew it up — which he did on Tuesday morning, just 12 hours before Game 2 — but it didn’t evolve as the Knicks imagined, either. ‘It was a tough shot,’ said Jefferies. ‘We wanted to send him middle and not give him his baseline shot — which is his patented shot — and he made it. When he went middle, he made a tough contested shot. We were trying the whole game to push him middle and not let him get to that baseline shot, and he made a tough shot.’ KG the Clutch Post Player. If you’re on the Celtics side, that’s got a nice ring to it. ‘I really wasn’t in a nice rhythm to be honest,’ said Garnett. ‘I was just taking what [Jefferies] was giving me. I’d been in that situation a couple times. I think earlier he got a poke from the back, and that wasn’t going to happen twice. So, I just remained calm and went to a shot I know I can make.’”

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  • Brandon

    Jared jefferies got payback for Melo knocking him years ago by giving the ball away to KG. He made sure all of Melo’s hard work went to waste

  • bull22

    not of fan of the celtics, but respect their intensity when the game counts….. i did not hear KG saying “iam too tired to be doing my job defending”…. relentless player!

  • Lloyd

    The way the C’s are playing against this no defense knicks team…seems like they won’t make it very far

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    The should have sent the double team. smh

  • paul

    Knicks have been working hard on defense this series.

  • riggs

    wanna know why KG has never taken a shot the last 10 seconds of the game til now? because he didnt need to.He’s there boxing out and anticipating either the tip in or the rebound or he’s setting screens so someone can get the inbound pass or the shot. Also he has had game winning alley-oops.

  • BostonBaller

    I read that piece written about KG and I thought it wasn’t portraying what really happens. I agree with riggs above. If you have Ray AND PDouble, those are the guys you go to. When he was with Minny there were shooters there also albeit not the caliber of players he has now, plus in Minny they were usually down by more than 2 points at crunch time so in that situation you don’t go to your low post guy with seconds remaining. Houston didn’t go to Hakeem when they were down 3 or more with 5 ticks left and no one went to Shaq or Karl or M. Malone or ..you get the picture. So, you have to look at the the entire scenario and the position a player plays before you put that label on them.

  • ernied

    so now there’s that. Knicks are playing hard at both ends, but unravel at crunch time. Give them huge credit for effort. Celtics bench needs to play better.

  • BostonBaller

    The whole Celtics team needs to play better…but a win is a win.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    @bostonballer I read the article too and came upon this info in the comments that make that last 10 seconds stat even more dubious: “The problem is, there haven’t BEEN any instances of a time when KG could take a go-ahead shot with 10 seconds left. The combined 4-for-9 that the Celtics are in those situations…8 of those 9 shots happened in the 2009 postseason when Garnett was hurt and the team played 7 overtimes against the Bulls. Outside of that, Pierce has one game-winner inside of 10 seconds (2010 against Miami) and KG has one game-winner with 21 seconds left (2008 against Cleveland). There haven’t been any other opportunities, which makes that stat misleading.”

  • http://www.sonicbids.com doyouwantmore

    As long as they don’t have to face any team that plays defense, the Celtics are going all the way to the top! Yeaaaahh!! :|

  • BostonBaller

    @dfrance..i guess we’re saying similar things. The article makes it seem as if he shrinks during crunch time but if your number isn’t called during crunch time you can neither be the goat or the hero. If there aren’t any instances where he is called upon to produce at “crunch time” then no one can say he is afraid of crunch time. You can’t say someone is afraid to take the last second shot if they don’t have the play called for them. the C’s play like many teams of the past…they play to their competition and that can be dangerous. I’ve seen #1 seeds play down to the level of #8 seeds then kill the #2 seed. That’s why they actually play the games. lol. I LOVE the playoffs!!!! I’m watching every game tonight!!!

  • Ronald

    Dude is this generations Karl Malone. Did you see him during the finals last year? He missed open layups, dunks and had costly turnovers.

    And, yeah all 7 games of the finals are considered “crunch” time and he didn’t deliver.

  • dsleepy

    espn nba stats articles are garbage, esp henry abbott. i don’t even read them anymore. they’re skewed to try to create controversy, and of course over a wide enough population, you can always find a sample of statistics to support pretty much any vantage point. but as noted previously, they tend to leave out crucial context to the numbers that would negate the author’s hypothesis. garbage propoganda. lost all credibility.

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