Kevin Garnett Came Through at Crunch Time

by April 20, 2011

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.'”