Tuesday, April 30, 2013
What's Going on with KG?
Despite some of the numbers you may see in the box score, Kevin Garnett has not been himself in the series against the Knicks. His scoring is primarily where the problem lies - 11.3 points per game. Down from 14.8 in the regular season; this is a number we expect to grow in the playoffs. If not for rising his level of play, simply for the fact that Doc Rivers saves many of Garnett's big minute games for the postseason.
Lets examine KG game by game:
Game 1: eight points (4-12 FG), nine rebounds, and four assists in 37 minutes. This is his worst game of the series to date. We gave him a mulligan on this one but KG clearly was not ready for the big stage. Only 12 shots was of concern.
Game 2: 12 points (4-9 FG), 11 rebounds to go with an assist in 24 minutes. Foul trouble plagued KG throughout this contest. Doc made a point of going to him early on offense, but the fouls made it impossible for him to find a rhythm. You would just like to see Garnett play a little smarter after having five fouls in game 1 to pickup two fouls in the first four minutes of game 2.
Game 3: 12 points (5-13 FG), 17 rebounds, two assists in 34 minutes. Garnett was complimented for playing hard and not giving up on this game. That is how he plays every night. None of this is a play hard issue, but a productivity issue. The FG attempts are up, but still not where they need to be. If they were with higher assist numbers it would be more clear he was getting his touches, but used more as a distributer.
Game 4: 13 points (5-7 FG), 17 rebounds, six assists in 37 minutes. This was KG's best game of the series... BUT seven shots attempted! This is Hall of Fame Kevin Garnett, too selfless at times. I've always said you can tell when KG is at his best (post knee operation) when he is rebounding. Well he pulled down 34 total boards in the two games in Boston, but he still was not himself. 13 points on seven shots is more than efficient, so why would that player not take 15 shots?
Averages: 11.3 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 3.3 APG in 33.0 minutes...10.3 FG attempts per game.
More simply put, if Garnett is healthy (he may not be), he NEEDS to be taking more shots for the Celtics to be successful. If he truly is the ultimate team player, he will realize his own personal production is sometimes most valuable to the Celtics' winning.
His rebounding is there which means he seems to have his legs under him, and Doc will certainly give him the minutes if KG is not in foul trouble. He needs to play smart and look for his shot. A little less fading away in the post and a little more attacking the basket could mean the difference. Catching the ball deeper in the paint could be the difference. Garnett is a tremendous jump shooter, but at 6'11 needs to establish his paint presence.
Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin clearly are not going to back away from the challenge of getting physical, so KG is going to have to rise to the challenge himself. Accepting that Chandler and Martin share that same intimidation factor that he does despite being smaller names may help get him there.