Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/20/14
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

Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao close to deal for fight

TJ Lang: Suh wanted to fight me after stepping on Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Hernandez jurors allowed to watch Super Bowl

Tiger misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate during presser

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rex Ryan: Seahawks need to ‘take the air out of the football’

J.J. Watt buys cabin in the middle of nowhere to train

Six teams have done background work on Peterson

NBA set to earn $700M through streaming deal in China

Wade Phillips is the best coordinator hire this offseason

Bill Belichick gives understated scouting report of Tom Brady

WATCH: Jimmy Butler throws down half-court alley-oop

President Obama zings Patriots over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's Player Of The Year candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots-Seahawks

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Most unexpected MLB free agent signings of past 10 years

Five most villainous Super Bowls of all time

Super Bowl ad focuses on acceptance of gay athletes

Foster says UT boosters paid him $40-50K while in college

Ranking the repeat Super Bowl champions

Eric Decker to Sherman: Time your conception a little better

Could Katy Perry and Russell Wilson be dating?

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

Obama zings Pats over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's POY candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots vs. Seahawks

The 13 things we want to see in Super Bowl XLIX

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Tiger Woods, misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Ranking the repeat SB champions

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate

Katy Perry, Russell Wilson dating?

Rex Ryan has advice for Seahawks

Super Bowl: Things you can't control

LeBron and the Cavs are ready to make a run

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.