- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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After the Nets lost by 21 to the Magic in Orlando Sunday night, Garnett gave a passionate speech on the trip home.
“We’re trying to form something here. Part of it is consistency,” said Garnett, who declined to go into real specifics about his speech. “We can’t come out with a passionate game against Miami, and come out and play the way we played in Orlando.
“I was just letting them know consistency is the difference between great teams and OK teams.”
Garnett’s message resonated with his teammates, who, following an intense practice Monday, easily deposed of the Jazz, taking a 7-0 lead and never looking back.
“Yesterday was probably the hardest practice we’ve had since training camp,” Garnett said. “Orlando was a totally failed effort and we really got after it. I’d like to say yesterday’s carry-over from that practice was today. We emphasized in that practice -- touching the paint, being in the paint, getting to the free-throw line, being aggressive, and I thought we carried that over tonight.”
Sure did. The Nets outscored the Jazz by 32 in the paint, 58-26. Garnett (4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist in 14 minutes) even got his first points inside the restricted area this season, using a crossover dribble to get to the rim for a layup with 9:45 left in the third quarter.
Garnett has quickly put his imprint on the Nets ever since he decided to waive his no-trade clause and come to Brooklyn. The 37-year-old veteran is always very vocal at practice, seemingly treating every practice like it’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Before games he sits on the floor of the team’s locker room and intensely watches film, often pointing out tips to his younger teammates. Garnett has even taken a lot of leadership burden off point guard Deron Williams’ shoulders.
His stats may not indicate as much, but Garnett’s value to the Nets goes well beyond those numbers.
4dMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo