Celtics

Garnett flashes his abilities as a distributor

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Garnett flashes his abilities as a distributor

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

PORTLAND, Ore. When you look at the hybrid players in the NBA these days, they are big men who can also handle the ball. They often go by the name of point-forwards.

Kevin Garnett is not a point-forward, but that doesn't mean he can't find teammates in position for easy baskets.

That's exactly what he did on Thursday in helping the Celtics defeat the Portland Trail Blazers, 88-78.

Garnett had a near triple-double, scoring 10 points to go with 9 rebounds and 9 assists.

The points and rebounds, no surprise.

The nine assists?

Where did that come from?

Garnett's passing success had a lot to do with an adjustment by the Celtics in the third quarter.

"Rajon Rondo called a great call, which got the ball in Kevin's hands," said coach Doc Rivers. "He was basically, for that one stretch, turned into our passer with everybody cutting . . . He was terrific."

Six of Garnett's nine assists came in the third quarter.

"Some of the play calls permitted me to be a lot more free with some of the decision-making," Garnett said. "I'm a decent decision-maker. I know I can make some plays. I know how to pass the ball. I know my role. I don't come outside of that."

It was another night in which Garnett dominated the game in stealth fashion, raising hardly an eyebrow until you look at the final box score and see that he was just a rebound and an assist shy of his first triple-double this season, 20th of his career.

But in typical KG fashion, his impressive night statistically didn't mean much.

He was reminded that LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds, had a double-double in the first half.

Garnett then reminded a reporter that Aldridge's big game also came with "an 'L.' "

"I'm more into letters, than numbers," Garnett said. "All right?"

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

0:41 - Kyle Draper, Brain Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn, and Mike Gorman break down the Celtics loss to the Cavs and Gordon Hayward’s injury.

4:22 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions to the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward and how it impacted the game.

9:39 - Dr. Chris Chihlas joins BST to give his medical opinion on Gordon Hayward and if he thinks there is a chance Hayward could return this season. 

13:40 - Chris Mannix and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss what the feeling was like in the arena when Hayward went down but how there is actually a 'cautious optimism' surrounding the injury.

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

CLEVELAND – Jayson Tatum has seen plenty of games featuring Cleveland’s LeBron James.

And in the Boston Celtics’ preparation for Tuesday night’s matchup, the 19-year-old rookie had seen plenty of James on film.

But facing him, up close and personal, was something entirely different.

“He’s way bigger than I thought,” Tatum said. “He’s way better than I imagined. That’s the reason why he is who he is.”

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James’ play was among the key factors in Cleveland handing Boston a 102-99 loss on Tuesday night.

But Tatum showed he too has some big-time potential by finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds which included some nifty drives to the basket as well as showing the ability to hold his own on the glass in terms of rebounding the basketball.

The last Celtics rookie to post a double-double on opening night?

That was Larry Bird back in 1980, helping the Celtics to a 114-106 win over the Houston Rockets.

What’s even crazier?

Bird had 14 points and 10 rebounds in that Rockets game, too.

Tatum’s solid performance didn’t seem in the making in the first half when Tatum had missed all five of his shot attempts while tallying just two points.

But as the Celtics mounted their comeback, Tatum’s play was a key to the team’s improved play.

“Just being more relaxed” was how Tatum described his improved play in the second half.

Tatum added, “first half, I think I was nervous and anxious. And then the game slowed down for me. That helped out a lot.”

And the Celtics will need even more from Tatum going forward after Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that will keep him sidelined indefinitely.

There was plenty of room for him to improve upon following Tuesday’s game.

But for the most part, head coach Brad Stevens liked what he saw from the rookie.

“Jayson was pretty good,” Stevens said. “He did a pretty good job for a first game. That’s pretty hard to do, to be thrown into this environment, first game and play that well.”

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