Celtics searching for right dosage of Garnett


Celtics searching for right dosage of Garnett

WALTHAM Kevin Garnett is an integral part of what the Boston Celtics are about. He is their anchor on the interior at both ends of the floor.

But are the C's putting too big a burden on the Big Ticket?

KG has been the most dominant player in this series for the Celtics, averaging 20 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.

But in Boston's Game 4 loss, a game in which Garnett only had nine points, it highlighted what an off-night for Garnett in this series looks like. He missed nine of 12 shots, easily the worst shooting night for Garnett in the playoffs as a member of the Celtics.

And with that, the series is now tied at 2-2 with Game 5 in Boston on Monday night.

Naturally, the Celtics will look to make some adjustments as they try to regain control of the series.

Getting Garnett more involved will certainly be among them.

To the Sixers credit, they did a much better job of forcing Garnett away from his comfort zones on the floor offensively, courtesy of more physical play from Elton Brand and rookie Lavoy Allen.

But the Celtics didn't make getting Garnett the ball nearly as big a priority as they had in previous games, which in turn helped the Sixers in their quest to limit Garnett's enormous impact on this series.

Going into Game 4, the Celtics were plus-47 when Garnett was on the floor. In Game 4, they were minus-2.

In the two losses, Garnett has averaged 12 shots taken per game compared to 18.5 in the two Celtic wins.

The two losses were both games in which Garnett's involvement was a major subplot to its outcome.

"Every time they went on runs, we took a jump-shot," said C's coach Doc Rivers.

But in the victories, Rivers added, "anytime we missed a couple shots, we went right back to the post."

Something that did not happen in Game 4.

Rivers understands that the Sixers will continue to try and limit Garnett and try to take away his impact on the game around the basket.

But the Celtics can not continue to be such a willing participant in Philly's efforts.

"They took it (C's inside game) away too, but we had a lot to do with it," Rivers said after the Game 4 loss. "We took it away. We took it away ourselves. We did more than settle; we just lost our composure. We stopped running our stuff. Whenever that happens, I always think that's me. I think that there is something the coach can do to slow them down, to get them back in their sets, to get them back in their rhythm, and I couldn't do it. To me, I always think that's my fault."

C's point guard Rajon Rondo believes he was part of the problem as well.

"I got to do a better job of slowing us down and getting us in our sets," Rondo said. "Demanding guys get in the right spots and execute offensively. I got to keep a calculation of when we're doing a good job at random and when we're not, and in that stretch when they went on a 15-2 run (in Game 4) we didn't do a good job. But in the first half we did make those shots. I got to know in the second half when we're not making those shots to slow it down."

Regardless of who is to blame, getting Garnett the ball remains a priority.

But finding that balance between getting him involved and not being overly predictable and thus easier to defend, remains one of the many challenges the C's face heading into Game 5.