Kevin Garnett has a routine before shootarounds on the road in which he launches jumper after jumper from several spots around the 3-point arc.
And there are typically two things that pretty much happen during this shootaround ritual -- Garnett is dripping with sweat and he usually drills the majority of the shots he takes.
“He hits everything,” one Net said recently. “And he shoots the s--- out of the three.”
But during games, Garnett is reluctant to shoot, and when he did in Game 2, he struggled. After missing 6-of-8 shots, including 3-of-4 in the fourth, Garnett was frustrated.
"I'm not happy with my play right now," Garnett said after the Nets fell into an 0-2 hole with a 94-82 loss in Game 2. "I’m trying to get in a flow and a rhythm. Try to bring something. It’s just frustrating. But I'll grind through it."
Garnett, 37, has often talked about knowing and playing his reduced role on this team. Jason Kidd has watched his minutes carefully to keep him fresh for this moment.
But Garnett’s offense looks like it is running on empty. In Game 1, Garnett went 0-for-2 in 16 minutes and failed to score a point for the first time in 139 postseason games.
In Game 2, Garnett grabbed 12 rebounds and had three steals. But he scored just four points on 2-for-8 shooting. Kidd opened the fourth with Garnett and played him longer than usual, giving him nearly seven consecutive minutes. The Nets also made sure to get Garnett more touches than usual early in the fourth as the ball moved through Garnett a few times.
Garnett missed a 3-pointer and a tip-in attempt but was able to grab his own rebound and put it back in. But with the Nets down five, Garnett grabbed an offensive rebound only to miss a short hook that could have gotten the Nets within three of the Heat with 5:26 remaining.
The Garnett miss came during a stretch that saw the Nets miss 5-of-6 shots and allow the Heat to seal the game with a 10-2 run.
Kidd certainly knows what it feels like to struggle offensively in the playoffs in the twilight of one’s career. He failed to score a point in his final 10 playoff games last year as a Knick after logging heavy minutes during the regular season.
That’s likely why he has monitored KG’s minutes so closely this season. In the meantime, Garnett is going to do what he always does -– keep working on his jumper in practice and at shootaround.
“Continue to work,” Garnett said. “Continue to find ways to be aggressive offensively. Continue to look for opportunities. Rebound the ball. ... And continue to talk and inspire [teammates].
“There’s no room for anything,” Garnett later added of how the Nets rebound from the 0-2 hole. “It’s all-out from here on.”