NBA AM: Garnett And The Celtics On A Roll?
KG Being KG: As my man Ben Rohrbach of WEEI’s Green Street so eloquently stated in an e-mail this morning. Sometimes Celtic forward Kevin Garnett’s actions and comments can only be described as “KG being KG”.
Last night was a prime example.
After leading the Celtics to convincing win over the Utah Jazz last night, Garnett who recorded a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds got on his soap box making it clear, he’s not nearly as old and finished as some in the media want to paint him as being.
“I’m motivated, you know? I hear y’all calling me old,” said Garnett. “I hear y’all calling me older, weathered. It don’t take really much to motivate me, man. I’m older in basketball years, but in life I’m 30-something. I’m looking at your gray hair, no hair, half hair, beautiful hair, wet hair. I’m just motivated. I like to use that word.”
“The first half [of the game] wasn’t the most pleasurable for us. I thought I could be better, and I’ve been working towards that. I’ve been giving myself a true analysis in the mirror, looking at myself, telling myself, ‘What can I do better?’ And I’ve been going towards that. I know there are some things I can get better at, and I’ve been trying to do that.”
Garnett called out his Celtics’ teammates at the All-Star break saying his club needed a kick in the ass.
It’s clear that some of the criticism in the media has helped restart Garnett’s fire.
“I don’t watch too many of you guys’ interviews — garbage — but the ones I do catch, it’s an opinion and it is what it is,” explained Garnett. “But it puts a spark under me, and I like that. Playing against younger talent that’s supposed to be prolific and supposed to be above average, but I’m old, though, you know? Like I said, again, for the third time, it doesn’t take much to motivate me. That’s what it is. That’s what you see.”
“I think whenever you’re going through something; you have to be able to look at yourself and give yourself a true perspective and be honest with yourself. My level of expectations will always exceed everybody’s in here. Half of y’all have never touched a basketball, therefore played in the NBA, so it’s irrelevant at some point.”
Garnett said he knew when he was vocal about what others needed to do for the balance of the season; he needed to step up his game too.
“I can’t ask a teammate to do something and look in himself if I’m not looking in myself,” explained Garnett. “I’m every bit of the word of a true leader — not by the words that come out of my mouth, but by example. That’s just me. I’ve always been built like that. I’ve always tried to better myself on and off the basketball court, but when it comes to basketball you’ve got to put in your time, you’ve got to put in your work and not just talk that talk, but you’ve got to be able to walk it. So, you know, I’m here. I’m dealing with everything, ailments and all that. I’m here.”
The Celtics closed the gap with their win last night pulling them even with Atlantic Division leader Philadelphia. The Celtic still sit in the 7th seed in the East but passing Philly would leap the Celtics into the 4th seed by virtue of winning the division.
The Celtics have gone 11-5 in the March and have won 72% of their games since the All-Star Break.
With Garnett playing like there is no tomorrow, the Celtics have found a nice groove.
The C’s have 11 games on the schedule versus teams with winning records and 9 nine road games, meaning Garnett will have plenty of time to read the newspaper and watch TV.
No Killer Instinct?: The Orlando Magic got worked last night in New York allowing the Knicks to go on a 12-0 run before halftime and a 21-0 run during the third quarter.
The 108-86 score was brutal.
The game was almost unwatchable unless you were an Iman Shumpert fan (Shump-Shump knocked in 25 points on 10-of-21 shooting).
After the game Magic coach Stan Van Gundy pointed out that for a team that’s supposed to be a contender, the Magic have let teams work them far too frequently.
“What’s shocking to me is that a team that’s playing over .600 basketball can get absolutely rocked as many times as we have been,” coach Van Gundy said to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
“Boston, New Orleans, Chicago, tonight — that’s what’s mind-boggling to me. It’ll happen every once in a while if you’re a bad team. To be a .600 team and get crushed like that as many times as we have? That’s shocking.”
The Magic sit at 32-19 on the season, and have a 2 game hold on the third seed in the East, with Indiana trailing the Magic by 2 games. The 76ers and Celtics are tied for the fourth seed in the East and trial Orlando by four games.
The Magic have 15 games left on the season including 10 games versus teams with a record above .500 and 10 games remaining versus Eastern conference teams.
The Magic have 8 road games left on the season and have gone 14-11 on the road this year.
The Magic have gone 10-16 this season against teams with a winning record, which does not bode well for a team that tends to lay down once every five games.
If the Magic are truly going to be contenders this year, they need to find that killer instinct.
If the playoffs started today the Magic would play host to the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks have a 2-0 lead on the season series. They play a final game this season on April 13th.
Bogut Admits He Wanted Out: Andrew Bogut won’t play this season for the Golden State Warriors, but he is looking forward to a fresh start in the Bay Area next year after what became a rocky relationship in Milwaukee.
“First of all, it’s a fresh start for me,” Bogut said to Sam Amick of SI.com. “These days, to be seven years in one spot in any pro sport is a pretty long tenure. But it has been a whirlwind. I got the call Tuesday night, packed my bags Wednesday morning, was here Wednesday night, went through all the physicals and have been here ever since.”
Bogut was traded at the trade deadline to the Warriors as part of a package that included Stephen Jackson in exchange for Monta Ellis, the ending contract of Kwame Brown and Ekpe Udoh.
Jackson was traded later to the San Antonio Spurs for Richard Jefferson.
Sources close to the situation in Milwaukee openly questioned how much Bogut wanted to play for them and some within the organization even accused him of taking too long to come back from certain kinds of injuries.
Upon arriving in Golden State, fans and media alike questioned Bogut’s durability and how valuable he can be after having lost so many games to injuries. Something he is being extremely cautious about this time around.
“I’ll be ready by October. That’s a certainty,” proclaimed Bogut. “The problem right now is not rushing back, and that’s why the decision was made that I’m probably not going to play this season. The one thing after that is obviously the Olympics, but if I rush back from this injury and I’m 90 percent, 95 percent, it increases the chance of that bone fracture actually becoming a break. Then I’d have all kinds of issues that would lead to a major surgery, and there’s no point trying to risk getting into that. That’s why I’ve been in the boot probably a little longer than I should. It’s almost eight weeks and they said eight weeks in the boot, and they’re probably going to actually make me go 10 because they want to make sure that it’s healing.”
Bogut’s injuries have been somewhat flukey and he understands that fans may not understand what he’s been going through.
“I’ve had two unlucky injuries that are the equivalent of walking under 1,000 ladders and seeing 1,000 black cats,” joked Bogut. “The arm injury [sustained on April 3, 2010], first and foremost, was a split-second thing that you can’t control. You’re in the air, you get a little push, couldn’t hang on to the rim. And then this one, I fall on someone’s foot, had gone up pretty hard to block a shot.”
“It’s frustrating, because I look back and say, “What could I have done differently? Nothing.” There’s nothing I could’ve done differently in the weight room over the summer, there’s nothing I could’ve done conditioning-wise to save those two injuries.”
“These aren’t chronic injuries. That’s the most frustrating thing. For the people on the outside looking in, they say, “Oh, he’s missed this many games and he’s injury-prone.” That’s a stigma I have. I’ll deal with it. I’m not too worried about it, because I know how I play when I’m out there and all my injuries are play-hard injuries.”
Bogut admits he was a little frustrated with the Bucks and that they had come to him with various trade scenarios.
“Well, the one thing I would say is that I came off an arm surgery when I hurt my elbow, and came back and we still didn’t sign a backup big,” explained Bogut. “We let Kurt Thomas walk, and he had a great year for us. I can definitely question the way things were ran there.”
“I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty. But I would’ve liked to have had a backup big. We haven’t had a backup big man [in Milwaukee] probably since Jamaal Magloire was there [in 2005-06]. And to be fair, we’ve had [power forwards] who play the [center spot], so that’s frustrating.”
Bogut understands his injuries likely lead to him being moved.
“Obviously, the take a toll on the franchise, too,” conceded Bogut. “There’s no doubt about it. That’s why I think it was like a civil, mutual divorce, where both parties are still friends. I’ve still got a lot of ties with people who work in that franchise, not only with the players and coaches, but the front office and ticket sales. I’ve got a lot of friends there and it definitely wasn’t bitter. I think it’s a sigh of fresh air for both sides.”
Bogut denies that he asked for a trade, but admitted he didn’t have issues with being moved.
“I think I was easy with it either way,” explained Bogut. “It would’ve been nice to spend my whole career in one city, but I think at the same time it got to the point where they approached me with scenarios and I definitely didn’t rebut them. I wasn’t a guy who said, “No, that’s bull—-, I want to stay here.’ But I wasn’t the guy who said, “Get me the ‘F’ out of here. I hate it here.” I think it was as mutual as it gets. It was handled very professionally. It was just time, man. People were frustrated with my injuries, and we weren’t having a great year anyway, and I was frustrated with the way my injuries were treated by people there. I think the best thing for both parties was to go their own way.”
When healthy, Andrew Bogut has been a solid NBA center. The problem is it’s been easily three years since he’s been 100% healthy, and he’s played in 82 games just once – his rookie season.
Out of a possible 492 games in his six NBA seasons Bogut has seen action in just 396 games, not including the 12 games he played this year for Milwaukee in his seventh season.
In total Bogut has missed 23% of the games he could have logged time in. Not exactly an endearing stat.
The Warriors are hoping that Bogut’s injuries are indeed fluke related. Bogut has two more season and some $27 million remaining on his deal.
The Warriors have $56.71 million in salary commitments next season, which includes a $4.08 million Qualifying Offer to Brandon Rush.
The Warriors could have a nominal amount of cap space next season, but they have hitched their wagon pretty firmly to Bogut, Richard Jefferson and David Lee.
If Bogut can’t get and stay healthy, things could go pretty badly in the Bay Area.
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