Posted on: January 9, 2012 5:14 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 5:39 pm
By Matt Moore
I tend to think of the other side whenever a player dumps a team. There's all the excitement for what that superstar will do with his new city, with new teammates, with, in most cases, better supporting casts. But often the team left behind is overlooked. So it was with Kevin Garnett. I've read countless pieces on Garnett from Timberwolves fans and the refrain is deafening and nearly unanimous: They love the guy. Still. There are no hard feelings over the abandonment, no bitterness. Even when Garnett showed the team up in Garnett's first return to Minnesota, a game that shouldn't have been close considering the gap in talent between Garnett's in-their-prime Celtics and the rebuilding Wolves, with Garnett thumphing his chest more than usual) and popping his Celtics jersey at his former club, Wolves fans loved him for it. The truth of the matter is, when you suffer for a team, and that team is still bad, and you are excellent, you're forgiven.
The comparisons between how Garnett was treated and how LeBron James was treated, outside of the absurd and insulting nature of "The Decision" are staggering and you can read more about that here.
But it's easy, with the Celtics struggling to stay competitive, with their window rapidly shutting and with only one championship ring to show for it (as if that would be a disappointment for any other franchise in the league outside of L.A.), to forget that what made Garnett joining the Celtics special wasn't just a big-name player joining a big-name team. It was this player, a player who demanded excellence out of himself and his team every night, joining a franchise that has expected the same since its inception, since Red Auerbach literally invented the phrase "victory cigar." Garnett may wind up going down behind the true greats of all time because of how his career worked out, but the connection between Garnett and Boston is more than just that of a player who came ring chasing and won a title. He's a continuation of a work ethic, of a devotion to basketball craft. And if you don't get it, you just don't get it.
In short, it's a Celtics thing.
Which brings us to this video:
Those are comments that you hear a lot. "It's about the team." But look at how Garnett talks about it. This isn't a salesman going through the motions at a sales meeting. This is a pastor preaching to the faithful.
This is the testimony from the Book of KG.
Garnett talking about how Doc has "this much foot in (his) ass right now" is a perfect example of what sets this team, this franchise apart from so many. This is Kevin Garnett, a Hall of Famer, one of the greatest power forwards to ever play of the game, and there is total deferral to the head coach. There's no "I think I played fine" or defensiveness. Garnett is actively taking responsibility for his play and for what the team needs him to do.
Garnett makes you believe that the cliches are real. Trust me, when you do this enough, you can tell from inflection who means it and who's going through the motions. And some go through the motions with the press but believe it privately. But KG is one of the few in the league who talks the talk of the walk he walks. In a sport where so many players are steadfast in their struggle to be self-aware, to understand how much greater they can be if they let go of ego, who are always considering themselves and their image and brand first, Garnett is a rarity. He was made to do this. He was made for Boston.
He was made to be a Celtic.
And that can mean more than the rings won by some in this league who simply latched on to a championship squad for the ride. You have to have an identity, you have to have standards, you have to have accountability. And you have to have a leader like Kevin Garnett to stand at the front and say so.
Posted on: December 29, 2011 11:45 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 1:29 am
By Matt Moore
The Mavericks had the Thunder where they want them. Like last year in the Western Conference Finals, the Mavs had hit a huge shot, forcing the Thunder, who have historically struggled with final possessions, to try and hit a shot with just one second. Last time the Thunder tried this against the Mavericks, Kevin Durant was blocked on a pull-up 35-footer.
But on Thursday night? The Thunder didn't try anything silly or miss their execution. A catch and shoot for the best offensive players in the league. The result? KABOOM.
That. The Thunder should do that every time they're in a late-game situation. Durant has one of the best catch-and-shoot motions in the league and yet he almost always is put in an ISO off the dribble position. That was absolutely perfect execution and an amazing shot from one of the game's best.
It should be noted that it was Russell Westbrook nailing two huge jumpers and converting a big steal along with a key offensive rebound off a Durant miss which set all this up. Regardless of their relationship, the two need one another and on Thursday, they delivered for each other.
Posted on: December 25, 2011 8:24 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2011 10:22 pm
By Matt Moore
For 40 minutes, the Lakers were the better team. Then everything fell apart for L.A. against the Bulls. They missed free throws, took bad shots, and turned the ball over constantly. With the Bulls having closed within one, the Lakers had the ball with under 20 seconds left. Maintain possession, force the foul, hit free throws, and get out with an ugly but impressive win over the East's best team last season.
But as we've seen all through the month of December, things simply aren't diagrammed that way for the Lakers right now. Instead, this happened.
The Lakers have not won a game since defeating the Hornets in the first round of last year's playoffs. Kobe Bryant hit some big shots but also turned the ball over 8 times against the Bulls. On a day where the Lakers scrapped and did a fantastic job shutting down Rose and the Bulls' offense, they simply fell apart, and the finger has to point to Kobe Bryant.
Meanwhile... Derrick Rose made the play when he need to, just like he did all of the regular season last year. It wasn't the best start for the Bulls, but it's a win, and that's good enough. Also, you can almost see Rose's eyes go wide when he realizes he has Derek Fisher one-on-one.
Posted on: November 1, 2011 9:37 am
Edited on: November 1, 2011 9:38 am
By Matt Moore
We told you late last night that Kevin Durant went out with some random folks and played flag football on the Oklahoma State campus. Which is kind of the most awesome thing ever. Now we have video of how the entire thing went down. Durant hit Twitter to say he was bored. A student said he needed a deep threat.
Durant asked "Can I play?"
The student asked "Can you catch?"
And Durant came. He saw. He conquered. Here's video talking to the student with more clips of Durant dominating. Check out the first sack-dodge and long bomb.
"Probably the coolest moment of my life."
No Nike setup. No corporates sponsorship. Durant was bored, so he hung out with some folks and played flag football. When people say he's the best personality in the NBA, this is what they're talking about.
Just so we're clear on this. We have no NBA games on opening night. And Kevin Durant is just hanging with some students playing flag football. You watching this, Clay Bennett? Do you see what you're missing? Do you?
/cries self to sleep
Posted on: October 27, 2011 3:34 pm
Posted on: October 25, 2011 9:39 am
By Matt Moore
Kentucky held an exhibition last night called the Big Blue All-Stars vs. The Villains featuring a number of college stars. As you'd expect, a high number of NBA players showed up, including Jodie Meeks who dropped 42 points. $50,000 was raised for the V Foundation, which is awesome. You know what's almost as awesome?
NO, Enes Kanter, YOU MAY NOT COME IN. Kenneth Faried INVITES YOU TO TAKE THAT WEAK STUFF AND EXIT THE BUILDING IN A TIMELY FASHION.
Sorry, got a little excited there. No NBA has me a little... off.
Check out this quote from Kanter post-game:
"I couldn't play in high school," he said. "I couldn't play in college. Now, I can't play in the NBA. I'm really frustrated."via Curses, Christian Laettner wins again as Villains beat ex-Cats | Homepage | Kentucky.com.
Apparently Kanter can't play when Faried is around, either. Boom. It'll be exciting to see how Faried's intensity and athleticism can help guard the rim for the Nuggets when the NBA returns. You know, in 2014.
Posted on: October 10, 2011 9:13 am
By Matt Moore
While the NBA and NBPA were slugging it out over, apparently, nothing Sunday night, Goodman League played Drew League in a rematch. This time the California-based Goodman League came out on top, but what made the narrow win more impressive is that they survived 105 points from John Wall and Kevin Durant. That's right. Kevin Durant scored 50 points, and he wasn't the top scorer on his own team. That's how ridiculous these exhibitions are. Here are the highlights including some of John Wall's as he dropped 55 points in the loss.
Posted on: September 14, 2011 12:33 pm
By Matt Moore
As the Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series continues in Las Vegas, where Ben Golliver is talking to players and geting their reaction to the lockout news, there is actual basketball being played by NBA players. Yesterday featured one particularly nasty dunk from J.J. Hickson. Here's video, via IAmAGM.com:
Austin Daye and Josh Selby both showed why people have raved about their conditioning and work this summer. Those two may be players to watch next season. Because, you know, highlight videos from an exhibition game is a good indication.