- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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No need to wait for his next blog, Celtics forward Kevin Garnett tackled a wide variety of topics following Wednesday's win and offered some intriguing answers to questions about some of the hottest topics around the Celtics.
On if he had talked to point guard Rajon Rondo about his recent struggles:
"Rondo's playing hurt. [Rondo's hurt]. He's giving us everything he has and he's grinding. I think the nights where he's playing countless minutes for us, and he's not playing washed up guys. He's playing [Indiana's Darren Collison] and [New Jersey's Deron Williams] and all these guys and they're coming at him. He knows that, so he's just a little focused in. But everybody's banged up at this point and [Rondo] is no different from that."
On competing with Chicago for the top seed in the Eastern Conference:
"We don't even care about Chicago. We're not really worrying about everybody else. We're taking it a game at a time. Doc's making sure that we don't overlook anybody, any teams. Right now the focus is the road trip and the road trip only. This is probably the most important priority at hand, winning tonight, so that you had that momentum going on the road. It's very important, so now we've got to suit up and be ready for this road trip."
On losing another tail end of a back-to-back in New Jersey:
"Basically, we knew we were getting guys back [Wednesday. We wanted] to be aggressive and there really wasn't a lot of chatter on the plane from [New Jersey], a lot of [angry] guys, and we came in and got some things done, and it carried over to the game [Wednesday]. Ticked off is an understatement."
On whether he's excited about how this team will look once everyone is healthy:
"You know what's crazy? This is like a good movie and you haven't even seen all of it. As a matter of fact, I'm going to use Ocean's Eleven ... you haven't seen Matt Damon, you haven't seen Brad Pitt, you haven't seen Bernie Mac. You've just seen [George] Clooney and a couple other guys."
Pressed on what character from the movie he'd be, Garnett pondered for a moment and smiled broadly before announcing, "I'm Saul." Saul Bloom, played by Carl Reiner, is described on the movie's official website as "the ulcerous old pro who is brought out of retirement to play a crucial role in the heist." Yep, seems appropriate.
Playing another of his former teams, reserve forward Troy Murphy put together 17:34 of his most consistent play in a Boston uniform, hitting both shots he took while chipping in six points and three rebounds as he continues to shake the rust of a lengthy on-court absence.
Murphy surely still needs to get his timing down, as he's not nearly as strong on the glass as he should be (at least not in terms of hauling in those available caroms). But the Celtics remain confident that will come in time. He did produce the jaw-dropping moment of the night, finding an open lane to the basket in the fourth quarter and throwing down a two-handed reverse jam.
"I think he was surprised," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "I was worried about him getting hurt coming down because I don’t think he’s jumped that high in quite some time. It was a slow-motion reverse dunk. It was terrific."
--LAYUP LINE: 20/20 VISION; VOGEL & PIERCE; CHARITY STRIPE--
* Don't say the Pacers aren't consistent: Indiana accomplished a box score oddity by producing 20 points in every single frame while putting together its 80-point output.
* Indiana head coach Frank Vogel, a former Celtics video man, on Paul Pierce's 20-point effort (including yet another highlight-worthy jam, this time over Roy Hibbert in the opening moments): "Paul Pierce, you know, I started out coaching him when he was a rookie. He’s come a long way, he’s a heck of a basketball player, too much for us tonight.” Asked if he takes all the credit for Pierce's development, Vogel joked: "I take all the credit, yes.”
* For a rare change, it was the opposition moaning about a free throw disparity and not free throw anemic Boston. In fact, Danny Granger earned a technical foul for heatedly barking at referee Violet Palmer in the fourth quarter (some thought he deserved the heave-ho). “It’s hard man, four minutes to go in the fourth quarter, [the Celtics] had shot 32 free throws, we had shot five," said Granger. "We probably are the team that shoots the most free throws in most of our games, and they're a team that doesn’t shoot a lot of free throws. They're like 24th [in the league] and they’re outshooting us by like 25 or 30 free throws. So, I mean, with numbers like that, we never really had a chance.” Boston connected on 26 of 33 freebies overall, while Indiana made 9 of 13 attempts at the charity stripe.
4dMatt Walks, ESPN.com
5dESPN Stats and Information Group
7dESPN Stats & Information