Garnett's Offense Likely To Spike in Game 2
NEW YORK – One day removed from an ugly offensive performance in Game 1 against the Knicks, the Boston Celtics met the media Sunday afternoon at their New York City hotel. Their offensive struggles remained as a hot topic, and that topic led to discussion about Kevin Garnett’s involvement in the offense.
Garnett scored just eight points in the series opener while shooting 4-of-12 from the field. He did accumulate four assists, but he did not play a major role in Boston’s offensive attack.
According to Doc Rivers, no one should blast Garnett for his performance. Instead, Rivers thinks that Garnett’s teammates played the main role in Garnett’s limited involvement.
Rivers has spoken at length over the past six years about getting Garnett the basketball in the right areas on the floor. Certain players are more effective when they have the ball in certain locations, and KG is no exception to that rule. One of Garnett’s most effective areas is the low block. There he can work to get his own shot off or dish off passes that often lead to baskets.
To put it simply, the Celtics stunk at getting the ball to Garnett in the right areas during Saturday’s game. Rivers was taken aback as he watched his players make uncharacteristic decisions while attempting to feed the ball to KG.
“We made some just unbelievable decisions with the ball, and I thought a lot of it was we just became impatient,” Rivers said. “I think three or four post passes to Kevin were just impatience instead of advancing the pass and letting the next guy (get it to him.)
“They saw Kevin and they wanted to get it to him so bad. One was a cross-court post pass, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen. And the other one was passed on the other side of the half court to the post. Those are just passes we can’t make.”
But they did make those passes on Saturday, and those passes contributed greatly to the outcome of the game. The good news is that the team was able to watch those mistakes on film Sunday afternoon. That should lead to much better decisions during Game 2.
“That’s why the film is good,” Rivers said. “They’ll see the wing guys who were open. Hopefully we can do a better job of that, because we’ve got to get Kevin in the right spots.”
Paul Pierce and his teammates hadn’t watched film yet with the coaches when they spoke to the media on Sunday, but they already concurred with Rivers’ assessment. Pierce understands how great of a weapon Garnett is in the post and he wants the C’s to utilize that weapon to the best of their ability.
“We’ve got to play through Kevin a lot more,” Pierce said. “He is one of our best passers. He’s one of the most unselfish players. So we have to do a better job of just getting him the ball a lot more than he got it yesterday.”
Exactly how much more?
“Doc said he wants Kevin to be aggressive,” said Pierce. “He wants him to take 20 shots.”
Rivers’ plead for Garnett to take 20 shots is nothing new. The coach makes this request each and every postseason. Garnett doesn’t necessarily love obliging to that request, simply because he’s so unselfish with the basketball, but even he acknowledged that he needs to get more opportunities on offense.
“I thought from an offensive standpoint I didn’t have a lot of different opportunities,” Garnett said.
Moments later, he made the statement that he must “be a little more aggressive, obviously” on offense during Game 2.
The only way for him to make that happen is if his teammates allow him to. The Celtics relied far too heavily on Pierce and Jeff Green in isolation situations during Game 1. That’s about as far as the team can get from using Garnett to the best of his abilities.
“What I saw and what I hope they see is that Paul is really good and so is Jeff,” said Rivers, “but you just can’t lean on them and say, ‘Win it.’”
The next time around, they’ll need to lean on Garnett, too.