KG wrecks Warriors in crunch time
January, 9, 2014
By Mike Mazzeo | ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- After converting inside and getting fouled 12 seconds into the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Garnett yelled out a 13-letter profanity.
Garnett has been known to curse a lot this season. But normally it’s out of frustration.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesKevin Garnett scored 11 of his 13 points in the fourth to help close out the Warriors in Brooklyn.
Not this time around. No, this time KG was pumped up and ready to inflict some more damage.
In a throwback performance, Garnett scored 11 of his 13 points in the final period, galvanizing the Nets in a 102-98 victory over the Warriors at Barclays Center.
“J [Nets coach Jason Kidd] called some plays for me,” said Garnett, who went 5-for-7 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line in the fourth. “I work on my craft every day, so I expect it to be a certain way when I go dial it up; I want her to pick the phone up. Tonight, I dialed and she was right there, answering, like she’s supposed to do. It was nice to be able to get into a nice little groove and some shots fell.”
Seriously. It has certainly been a struggle in 2013-14, a year filled with frustration as Garnett, 37, tries to adjust to being a “glorified role player” while fighting a mostly losing battle with Father Time. His numbers are down across the board: points, rebounds, field-goal percentage, minutes played. You name it.
But with Deron Williams (ankles) out again, Kidd called Garnett’s number, and the old, dominant KG was on the other line. It was just the sixth time all season he finished in double-figure scoring. He also added a season-high four steals -- the biggest coming with 12.8 seconds left and the Nets ahead 96-93.
“Offensively and defensively he has been off the charts,” Kidd said. “Tonight, defensively, he has been incredible for us since that Oklahoma City game. He looks like he’s 25, and tonight, offensively, he looked like he was 21.”
Consider: Garnett, who played 23 minutes Wednesday night, had scored just 12 points in his previous five games combined.
“We felt like it was a favorable matchup for us. KG has been in those moments time and time again,” longtime teammate Paul Pierce said. “Often, we don’t get to use him in that way here, but he’s more than capable of taking control of the offense like he did there in the fourth and giving us some cushion.”
Added Joe Johnson: “[KG] was huge. It was great to see him be in rare form again to where he kind of had them at his mercy. We needed that.”
They certainly did.
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