Celtics Lose to Nets, Focus on Playoffs
Kevin Garnett, who recently returned after sitting 8 games due to a heel injury, was seen leaving the Garden last night in a precautionary walking boot after defending Nets Center Brook Lopez, who scored 21 points and grabbing 4 boards, all night.
Garnett, who recorded 11 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists against Brooklyn, is still trying to recover from an ankle injury that sidelined him for three weeks. “I can be better. And I will be,” Garnett told ESPN reporter Greg Payne.
Brooklyn’s offensive firepower was just too much for the Celtics to handle. Deron Williams could do no wrong, scoring a game high 29 points and dishing out 12 assists. Joe Johnson also had a big night scoring 20 points, lighting it up beyond the arch going 4-6 from deep.
A big reason for Brooklyn’s ability to score pretty much at will was due to Celtics guard Avery Bradley getting into foul trouble.
Could this be the book on how to beat the Celtics come playoff time? With superstar guards in the Eastern Conference like Dwayne Wade, Joe Johnson Paul George and Deron Williams, the Celtics desperately need Bradley’s premier defense to keep them from doing what Williams and Johnson did last night.
Along with Bradley, Jeff Green needs to elevate his game and be that 20 points,5 rebounds, 5 assists guy — like Paul Pierce did last night — rather than the 11 points on 23% shooting performance he put on against the Nets.
With the playoffs less than a week away, Doc Rivers is tweaking his starting lineup going bigger with Bradley at the point, Pierce at the two, Green at the small forward, and then Brandon Bass and KG leading the frontcourt.
Along with deciding on his stating five for the playoffs, Doc will need to make some other important decisions. Mainly, whether or not to rest many of his aging players, like KG and Paul Pierce to keep playing them hoping they will catch some much needed momentum going into the first round of the playoffs and their likely opponent the New York Knicks.