BOSTON - The Celtics were absolutely thrilled when Kevin Garnett burst out of the starting blocks in what turned into a disappointing Game Three loss to the Lakers.
Shaking off two shaky games in Los Angeles, Garnett took the ball right at Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum and showed he still has plenty of game. In fact, he showed he can still be the dominant big man in the series if he plays well. He finished with 25 points and is shooting 54 percent and averaging 15.7 points in the three games.
"I wasn't in foul trouble, one, and I was patient," said Garnett. "I took what they gave me and I didn't think about a lot of things."
Garnett was so good that Doc Rivers was kicking himself when he watched the tape of the game. Garnett was 11-of-16 from the floor but the coach would have liked to see 20 or more shots from his big man.
"I thought that was the difference in the game," said Rivers. "When we fell on something that worked, we went away from it even though we know we should have stayed with it. We tried to play out of random too much. We like random, but when something else is working...I thought the Lakers did a sensational job when they fell onto something and they stayed with it. The (Derek) Fisher-Kobe (Bryant) pick-and-roll 9in the fourth quarter), for example, they stayed with that set. They ran it, it worked, ran it again, it worked, ran it again, it worked. We went to our set with Kevin, it worked, and then go three plays without running it."
Garnett said he thought his teammates looked to him "in the flow. It had nothing to do with force feeding and shoving the biscuit down the baby's throat, so to speak."
Now that he's shown he can go off against the Lakers, he's hoping teammates Ray Allen and Paul Pierce can join him in every game the rest of the series.
"It's a bit frustrating, to be honest," said Garnett. "But different series are going to call for different guys to step up and in a way some of the calls go sometimes, two or three guys might be in foul trouble. Just from a flow standpoint it's just not there. If you look at our series, I don't think there's been a point where all three of us have had huge games. If not one of us, something is going on. There's always a dilemma with one of us. There's never been a situation where it's been multiple."