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'X factor' Garnett struggling to do more

The Sports Xchange
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Kevin Garnett has been asked by the Celtics' coaches to play inside more on offense, but the fact that they've struggled to get him to do that is evidenced by his response when asked if he's had to make adjustments in his game.

"I do a number of things," said Garnett. "Ray (Allen) shoots 3's, Paul (Pierce) is our leader and scores the basketball, and I'm an X factor who, if you need me to score, I can score. If you need me to play defense, then I can play defense. I'm like the glue here. If you need the extra pass, then that's what it is.

"But I consider myself the X factor. Whatever you need me to do, that's what I try to go out and do. I feel as strong (as ever), or I wouldn't be here."

The Celts have almost given up on getting him to the post more. They'll settle for just having him more assertive with the ball. Friday night against the Knicks, KG had 15 points in a 91-89 Celtics victory over the Knicks.

"Just shoot the ball more," coach Doc Rivers said. "That's it.

"I jokingly told him, 'Act like a star all the time.' He is. He does so many things. He's a tough one because when he does pass the ball, it's usually a good decision. We just want him to be more aggressive offensively, and he's getting there slowly. You can see it. He's so skilled, it's unbelievable, but he's also so unselfish that it's unbelievable."

But at the age of 35, Garnett isn't about to become points hungry -- even if that's what his team wants. The only real alteration is that he has to play less now.

"He's playing less minutes each and every year to preserve his body, but I don't think he's changed too much," said Pierce, who goes against Memphis on Sunday. "His minutes have gone down to preserve him for later in the year and playoff battles, but the things he does for us has pretty much stayed the same."

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