Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 4/11/13
BOSTON — Kevin Garnett spoke in his usual monotone, steadily breaking down the reasons for the Celtics’ listless loss to the Nets on Wednesday. His reserved demeanor did not hide his disappointment, however, not so much with his teammates as with himself. In his second game back after missing eight straight with soreness in his left foot, Garnett was clearly rusty. He missed six of his first seven shots before finding his way a bit in the second half, and during a break in the action in the third quarter there was a borderline shocking moment when Celtics coach Doc Rivers had to shout some defensive corrections at the veteran big man. Such mid-game instructions from Rivers are common, but not for Garnett, who is possibly one of the most technically flawless defenders in history. As Garnett struggled, his teammates for the most part hung back. The Celtics went the entire first half without attempting a free throw, a startling statistic that Paul Pierce found unacceptable at halftime. But unlike Garnett, the rest of the Celtics did not a nagging injury or a lack of rhythm as an excuse for their passivity. “Whereas they were aggressive all night, we sort of settled for jump shots, and that was evidenced by the free throws,” Pierce said. “We should never take no free throws in a half of a game. That just shows a lack of aggression, a lack of trying to get to the basket, trying to get contact. There’s no excuse for that.” The Nets eventually won 101-93 by shooting 25-for-28 from the free throw line, compared to 13-for-17 for the Celtics. The free throw disparity loomed large, since both teams shot just below 46 percent from the field (with the Celtics actually taking seven more shots) while their rebound (39-37 Nets) and assist (20-19 Celtics) totals ended up being fairly close. The teams also committed an identical 12 turnovers and 21 personal fouls each. Yet Rivers, like Pierce, did not blame the foul shot disparity on the officials — far from it. Despite a chippy game that saw Garnett pick up a technical foul for throwing an elbow and nearly pick up a second for a similar transgression, nobody on the Celtics seemed to take any issue with the referees after the game. “I thought Jeff [Green] got fouled on one drive,” Rivers said. “Other than that, honestly, I didn’t think there was a foul [in the first half] that they should have called. I thought the game was reffed great.” The Celtics and Nets exchanged the lead nine times in the first half, but after a layup by Jordan Crawford with 5:17 left in the second quarter gave the Celtics a 37-35 lead, they never led again. Green and Jason Terry went 5-for-24 from the field to assure Garnett would not be alone in his poor shooting performance, but none of their misses were as awkward-looking as some of the missed layups Garnett tossed up. For his part, Garnett offered no excuses, only promises. “I can be better in every part of my game,” Garnett said. “It’s not just one aspect. Obviously, my timing is off a little bit, and I’ll get that. I’m super anxious around the basket, hurrying shots. In the second half, I thought I was a lot better with my motion and consistency and being decisive in what I wanted to do. Sometimes I play against myself a little bit. That second half, I did a better job of just settling in and staying more aggressive.” The Celtics need more from Garnett than his misleading line of 11 points and eight rebounds on Wednesday. He knows that. The question is whether the rest of the Celtics realize that they, too, must be more than set-shooters on offense and immobile pylons on defense, and that taking zero free throws for a whole 24 minutes will lead to more results like Wednesday’s in the playoffs. “We’ve got to understand, we’ve got to raise our intensity at this point of the season,” Pierce said. “We’ve got to start prepping our mindset, our game plan and everything we try to do for the playoffs.” Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Lakers apologize for first, get second meeting with Aldridge

Mike Scioscia: Josh Hamilton should apologize to Arte Moreno

Sacramento Kings continue to be an utter disaster

Report: Cowboys believe Bryant is bluffing about missing games

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Steel workers on Kings arena wrote ‘Go Warriors’ on materials

Report: Cavs could put Love on trading block within next year

Red Sox GM: 'Time to think about' team being sellers

Cardinals fire scouting director in hacking scandal fallout

Report: Lakers to get second meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge

Antonio Gates suspended four games for violating drug policy

University of Florida developing high-tech smart mouth guard

Pat McAfee is the best punter in NFL history

Mets coach on slump: The only thing left is human sacrifice

MLB teams who will continue to surprise in second half

2015 Women’s World Cup Final: The Rematch

Answering the five biggest questions in NBA free agency

Report: Mavericks sign Wes Matthews to four-year contract

Dwyane Wade celebrates deal with tea, painted toenails

Coach K at fan town hall: 'I have no thoughts on retiring'

Carroll doesn’t just bring skill to Toronto; he brings relevance

Lakers and Knicks: Piece by piece with no shortcuts

Bubba Watson to paint over Confederate flag on General Lee

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.