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On Garnett’s (Lack Of) Offensive Assertiveness

 

Of the dozen or so appalling stories from yesterday’s game, the one that’s bothering me the most this morning is Kevin Garnett’s inexcusable no-show on the offensive end.

Before the series, we talked exhaustively about the need for Garnett to provide the Celtics a consistent post presence. In fact, Garnett’s offensive proclivities have been a regular topic of discussion lately. Chris Forsberg touched on them. As did Jackie MacMullan. As did Doc Rivers.

Coming into game one, everyone knew how crucial it was for Boston to get KG involved and work inside-out.

Here’s his shot chart for the game:

The line score of shame: 9 shots in 37 minutes. Only 3 of them in the paint. 6 total points. 0 free throws.

That’s abominable under normal circumstances. But when you consider the Celtics have no other viable interior offensive threats, that Garnett has matchup advantages over any defender Miami can throw at him, and that the Heat excel at defending the perimeter (where Boston’s other offensive threats reside), what happened yesterday is utterly inexplicable.

Why didn’t Garnett demand the ball more often? Why didn’t Rajon Rondo (and Delonte West) call his number more frequently? Why didn’t Doc call a timeout and insist the Big Ticket get down on the block?

Garnett often avoids direct criticism about his offensive play for the good reasons that you’re all aware of: he’s a stunning team defender, an excellent defensive rebounder, a great teammate, and the defining individual for this team’s culture. But Garnett’s preference for passing and his proficiency from the elbow don’t excuse his failings in game one. Where most of his teammates were impatient on offense, Garnett was, as we have seen many times before, far too willing to fit into the flow of the game rather than alter it.

For his game two inspiration, KG needs to look no further than the last time he was up against Lebron James in the playoffs. Against Cleveland last spring, guarded largely by Antawn Jamison, whose defensive abilities are aptly described as Bosh-esque, KG put up the following totals:

  • Game One: 20 shots in 38 minutes.
  • Game Two: 21 shots in 33 minutes.
  • Game Three: 11 shots in 30 minutes.
  • Game Four: 11 shots in 33 minutes.
  • Game Five: 14 shots in 32 minutes.
  • Game Six: 19 shots in 37 minutes.

There is no reason he can’t do the same thing this year.

And plenty of reasons why he has to.

  • Chris

    Whatever you think of Bosh's defense, it's almost impossible he's as bad as Antawn. While Jamison did better than expected, KG averaged about 18 ppg on 52% shooting, far above KG's playoff average that year.

    • Batman

      Antawn is also 3 inches shorter than KG

    • Morpheus

      Only 18ppg, damn i thought it was more than that. He made Jamison look like a 5th grade school kid in that series.

      While Bosh may not be as bad as Twan defensively, if KG were to play with more physicality in the post, Bosh will shy away as he doesn't prefer too much physical contact while he's playing. It might cause him injury or other sufferings.

  • I_Bleed_Green

    If I were doc I demand KG to take at least 15 shots and half of them have to be in the paint.

  • Batman

    KG's offensive has just eroded so much
    its hard to not sympathize with him
    but he still has to do a better job of giving us a post threat and keeping the defense honest

  • Morpheus

    Maybe someone should play that tape where Doc was barking at KG in the background during his post game interview.

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