Just because we don’t see Kevin Garnett on the bench when he’s hurt… it doesn’t mean he’s not having a major impact on the team. Just as Mikki Moore.
“I talked to KG early [Friday] morning,” Moore said. “He was like, ‘You’re a veteran. We know you’re going to be all right. Just take your time. Concentrate on your stuff. Get yourself ready. We don’t really care what you’re doing right now. This is the period where you’re going to get right for the playoffs.’ “
Moore is having problem guarding the pick and rolls… which was a major focus of practice yesterday.
Assistant coach and defense whiz Tom Thibodeau focused most of his attention on Moore, repeatedly drilling the veteran big man on stepping out on picks and trusting that a teammate would rotate to pick up his man if necessary.
“It’s just different systems and trust,” Rivers said. “He’s coming from a team (Sacramento) that was not a great defensive team, so I guarantee there is not a lot of trust. So we have to break him of that mental barrier.”
As for KG, he’s making progress.
“We’re hoping next week we can get Kevin on the floor for some skeleton offense just to try to get his timing back,” Rivers said. “Unfortunately for Kevin, his first game will probably follow a non-practice, which is very difficult – to miss that many games and then try to play without practicing.”
And Leon Powe, even with all his success recently, is perfectly willing to take a seat and resume his bench role.
“KG is one of the premier players in the league, so we need him back,” Powe said. “We want our team at full strength. We’ll be that much harder to beat when we get everybody back and get everybody into their roles.”
Every Celtics fan I’ve talked to says the team just isn’t the same without KG out there. Even when they win, it’s just different. What the Celtics lack with him out is the ability to really make big runs. KG and Perk defend the basket so well, it makes getting stops and getting out on breaks so much easier. It’s happened a million times… one bothers the shot… the other gets the board and fires to Rondo… and Rondo penetrates and kicks to Ray or Paul (or just takes it all the way in). It’s essentially a 4 or 5 point swing in the matter of about 4 or 5 seconds. Get 2 or 3 plays in a short span and you’ve got the kind of game-changing run we’ve seen so often early this year.
That’s important for guys Moore or Marbury, because it takes the pressure off them. Plus, Moore will get more burn with KG… so KG will be able to bark out the instructions from the baseline and help Moore along. That’s a very underrated aspect of Garnett’s game. I’ve heard some opposing players say they’re amazed at how much the Celtics talk on D. It’s part of what makes them so good. It’s like a quarterback like Tom Brady calling out where the defenders are so his linemen can block them. It makes it easier for them to protect him because they know what’s coming. When KG’s back there calling things out and making sure guys know where everyone is on the floor… or when he recognizes a play and gets guys into position… it just makes it that much harder to score on the Celtics. It’s invaluable… and it’s part of what makes KG such a superstar.
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