Kevin Garnett: “This is the first month of basketball and we are not panicking over here or anything like that.”

January 13, 2012 – 9:00 am by Steven Cuce

Kevin Garnett is averaging 13.2 points per game along with 7.3 rebounds per game, but his defensive miscue against Dirk Nowitzki earlier this week is what made headlines in Boston’s most recent loss. The Celtics power forward gives credit where it is due to Dirk Nowitzki.

It was a tough shot and the Celtics have struggled out of the gate this season mainly due to injuries. The Celtics aren’t getting any younger, but Garnett feels the team is improving and learning on the fly the best they can at this point.

Kevin Garnett joined WEEI in Boston with Mut and Merloni to discuss the loss to the Dallas Mavericks earlier this week, the Celtics offense being out of sync because of the lockout, the physical state of the Boston Celtics, getting beaten by Dirk Nowitzki for the final basket of Wednesday nights game against the Dallas Mavericks and Rajon Rondo becoming a leader of the Celtics.

How disappointing was the loss to the Dallas Mavericks at home this week?

“Any time you lose it is always disappointing. Nothing is good about losing. Obviously today we will watch the film and try to learn from it and apply that to Chicago and other games, but you never want to lose at home. You want to establish something at your home, but the positives in that is you learn today and try to apply them to future games.”

Is the offense out of sync because of the lockout and less time to prepare?

“Well I don’t think everyone understands the preparation man. Preparation is everything. I use the analogy of cooking because if you do not have those things, preparing the things of right seasoning and stuff, it doesn’t come out the way you want. That’s very similar to anything you do. Your execution is everything, but it is about how you prepare. How you are able to put it all together for the end of the day. If you don’t have the correct timer for that it becomes all faltered and different. This is the first month of basketball and we are not panicking over here or anything like that, but we are working to get better every day. We don’t have a lot of practice time to allow games to be played. It’s sort of like on the fly. The young guys gotta get it, learn it, try to embrace it and use it all in one. In a shortened season and things thrown together in the last minute this is what you are going to get.”

How is your team in terms of basketball shape? Is it far behind normal due to the lockout?

“I don’t really understand that question, but I will answer it the best way I’m understanding it or how it’s coming off. Like anything I don’t understand where that question comes from, but I feel like basketball shape. We went up-and-down. We practice a lot, whether that translates into easy baskets or not obviously has nothing to do with shape or whatever, but if you are speaking in terms of fast breaks or easy buckets or nets? I don’t see anything wrong with our conditioning. Not off the top. Maybe because I haven’t admitted it or haven’t sat back and watched us from a fatigue standpoint, but I know Doc [Rivers] is subbing guys in two or three minute intervals and trying to maximize out the bench and maximize opportunities for guys. Other then that that is what that is.”

Take us through the last play of the game against the Dallas Mavericks when you guarded Dirk Nowitzki?

“Well I didn’t know when you are on the island and it’s you and mano a mano you tend to think you don’t have any help unless you come out of the set. I just tried to jam him. Dirk’s rhythm is going left usually with a shot fake and I think he hit a three early on me going right with the dribble and I was very conscious of that, so I just kind of wanted to take his air space up when he did shoot and contest it very hard and not to go for any pump fakes. A player with multiple moves, a player with multiple opportunities to shoot the ball. You saw that with what he was trying to do. I was trying to take his first option away and make him go to a ‘B’ move if you will. When he drove he was hoping to get a whistle, which he did and made the shot. I didn’t really get into who was there and who fouled him in the rotation and all that. When you are up you got multiple things going through your head and he hit a tough shot. Great players make great plays and he made it.”

What do you think of the start that Rajon Rondo has had?

“I think Rajon Rondo had a very, very, very, very tough tough summer. At the same time I think that has made him what he is today. I mean he is a lot more mature. He came in as a leader versus a follower. I think up until this point since we have been here he has been the apprentice and starts to take over as the head or the master if you will. I think it has come at the right time. I think he’s ready for it. I think he is embracing it. It does something to you when you hear your name in trades. You sort of take a step back and actually look at how the organization looks at you and how they see you. Not to say it is true or not. Not to say the same stuff said about you is for real or if it’s in passing, but hey if it didn’t exist it wouldn’t be in the air, so it did something to him and it shows not only in his play, but how he leads, how he talks to people, how he carries himself and the respect he has for people is totally brilliant and it’s great to see from young guys. Young guys don’t really make suggestions as fast. I’ve been in the league for awhile now seeing young guys and it’s more ego than anything. This kid has totally thrown it out the window and actually is embracing the fact of being the captain and leader of our team with so many different guys and different attitudes. I think he is doing a great job of just balancing it out and that’s all the credit to Rajon Rondo man.”

Listen to Kevin Garnett on WEEI in Boston here

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