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Kevin Garnett's offensive game abandoned him a bit in Game 4.PHILADELPHIA -- As goes Kevin Garnett, so goes this Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.
Garnett produced monster efforts in Boston's triumphs in Games 1 and 3, but Philadelphia evened the series at 2 games apiece with Friday's Game 4 rally in which the 76ers did exactly what they did best in Game 2: Keep Garnett quiet.
Garnett labored through 3 of 12 shooting in Game 4 while putting up 9 points and 11 rebounds over 40 minutes. More condemning, he turned the ball over a game-high 7 times (Philadelphia as a team had 11 giveaways for the game) and simply wasn't the dominating presence he's been at times in Boston's recent wins.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, Garnett was a mere 2 of 10 (20 percent) on shots from 10+ feet, this after shooting 58.8 percent and making at least five shots per game from that distance in each of the first three games. Asked about Garnett's inability to get going on offense after Friday's 92-83 decision at Wells Fargo Center, Rivers simply shrugged and pleaded for time to study the film.
"Don’t know; I’m going to have to go look at that, and figure that one out myself," said Rivers. "I never thought we established him. I thought he was passive tonight, a lot. And we have to get him back in the middle of the paint and being more aggressive. So that’s on us, we have to figure that out."
With Brandon Bass and Paul Pierce hot to start the game, Garnett took a back seat offensively. He put up only one shot over seven first-quarter minutes, making a 20-foot pull-up little more than a minute in to aid Boston's initial 14-0 burst. Garnett missed a couple of 13-footers at the start of the second quarter and disappeared, turning the ball over twice in that frame.
Garnett went 1-for-7 shooting in the third quarter, missing seven straight shots before stealing a pass near midcourt and finishing a 2-on-1 break with a reverse layup. He took only two fourth-quarter shots, grabbing five rebounds in the frame.
Asked after Friday's game about not being established early, Garnett took some of the heat off Rivers and Rondo, even while dropping their names.
"Doc calls all the plays; Rondo obviously is involved with the play-calling," explained Garnett. "We consolidate the ball here... I thought Brandon came out, had a hot hand; [Paul] came out had a hot hand. At times I played well, but it's all in the flow of the offense. Other than that, it's not pointing a finger, or nothing like that. It's just how our offense runs."
Garnett seemed more concerned, overall, with the play on the defensive side of the ball after the 76ers dominated the fourth quarter, making all the key shots down the stretch.
Asked about ways to get back on track in Game 5, Garnett synopsized, "Making adjustments, playing better."
Statistical support provided by NBA.com