After the Boston Celtics were tested by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, the Celtics got another test on their own home court from the Philadelphia 76ers in game one of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Both times, in game six against the Hawks in the first round, and in game one of the semis, the Celtics were able to come through, and both times it was Kevin Garnett who led the way for Boston. With Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Avery Bradley dealing with some nagging injuries, Garnett has re-emerged for the Celtics after struggling a bit in the regular season and has become the biggest reason for Boston’s success this postseason. Not only is he shooting a great percentage from the field this postseason, making crucial shots late and averaging 20 points per game but Garnett, the lynchpin of the Celtics defense is also playing the kind of defense that made him a Defensive Player of the Year a few years back.
Through seven postseason games, Garnett has done a great job silencing the critics that felt he and the Celtics were too old to play at a championship level and if the Celtics are to get past the pesky, young and athletic 76ers, Garnett will have to continue to take on Father Time and come out on top.
Kevin Garnett joined WEEI in Boston to talk about the comeback against the 76ers, how tired he was at the end of the game against the 76ers, whether he is okay with only one day off in between the games this series against the 76ers and getting the win against Philly albeit by just one point.
On the comeback against the 76ers:
“Avery (Bradley) came up big, I thought Paul (Pierce) came up big in the fourth but hey man look this is like a boxing match man. We’re feeling each other out and we know they are going to come in with a lot of energy, they’re a young group, they’re very confident and we took the first couple of punches but then we adjusted. I feel like the second half we knuckled down and got better stops.”
How tired he was at the end of the game against the 76ers:
“I’d die out here if I had to and that’s real talk. I’ve been doing this for a long time and ways where I know how to conserve energy and get ‘em at free throw lines and when guys are shooting free throws, those are valuable seconds for me. When I train in the summer I train for a lack of, and when I say that, I mean rest. I program my body to recover as quickly as it can. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m a cerebral player these days and I know how to buy myself time on pick and rolls and stuff like that, things that you don’t see when you’re in your seat and it helps me.”
Whether he likes it better that the Celtics and 76ers are playing every other day this series:
“No. Rest is always good for the body. I always like to have it and it’s good for the mind. This is something totally out of our control so we’re dealing with it and we’re adjusting to it. We’re a no excuse team. This is what it is so we’re going to grind through it.”
On winning game one albeit just by one point:
“You have to remember this team is good too man. They beat a good, gutty and well coached Chicago team. Regardless of players on the floor Chicago is still a good team and they’re good too so times when they make a run and make us look human that’s what it is. It’s a team basketball game, it’s a game of runs and we put together a nice run and were able to get some stops. Take this team thing one at a time and see what we get.”