The mind is still willing — watch him “assistant coaching” during time outs and you can tell he knows the game and he still has a passion for it — but the flesh is weak. He does not cover ground on defensive rotations like the 2008 KG. He misses shots that used to be automatic. At age 37 the future Hall of Famer has struggled.
Through two games against Miami he has 4 points on 2-of-10 shooting. He does have 16 boards in the two meetings (12 in Game 2). He is 1-of-7 shooting in the paint, the most painful being a five-foot miss with just more than five minutes left in Game 2, one that became a Ray Allen three on the other end. Chris Bosh has proven an difficult cover.
There are reasons for this — Garnett has battled back spasms all summer and is still on a 25 minutes per game limit — but KG will be the first to tell you not to use that as an excuse. As you would expect, he admitted he has not played well after Game 2, speaking to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
“I’m not happy with my play right now. I’m trying to get in a flow and a rhythm,” said Garnett, who is shooting 20% and averaging two points in the two games against Miami. “Try to bring something. It’s just frustrating. But I’ll grind through it.
“(I’ll) continue to work. Continue to find ways to be aggressive offensively. Continue to look for opportunities. Rebound the ball. And continue to talk and inspire.”
The challenge with grinding through it is they are down 2-0 to a Heat team that has looked flat out superior. The Nets need a lot of things to go better in their two games in Brooklyn this weekend and KG is right at the top of that list. Next to Deron Williams.
It’s not a question of looks and opportunities, KG needs to take advantage of the chances he gets, or the Nets have to go on to what works (which has been harder to find consistently). This isn’t Kidd, it’s KG.
“I knew I was giving up things coming here (in a trade from the Celtics),” Garnett said. “I understand that. I’m not going to be a distraction or complaining about things that I kind of anticipated. Whatever (Kidd) needs (me) to be on this team I’ve tried to be and will continue try to be. I’m not going to come off and be a distraction at this point. I understand my job and go out there and do it to the best of my ability. If I have a chance to be aggressive, I’ll take those chances. If not, do what I can, do the things that I know I can.”
Report: Trail Blazers receive permission to interview Stephen Silas
Portland also was granted permission Sunday to talk to Silas about being its top assistant, league sources said.
Working for Steve Kerr in Golden State – which propelled Alvin Gentry to Pelicans head coach last year and Luke Walton to Lakers head coach this year – is probably preferable. But Silas’ star is rising, regardless. He’s a highly regarded assistant coach.
Terry Stotts, contract extension in hand, could add Silas without fearing being undermined. That’s the value of giving head coaches security. Hiring good assistants becomes more tenable.
Why would Silas leave another good coach, Steve Clifford in Charlotte, for the Trail Blazers? I don’t know for certain, but in these situations, there’s usually one place to start: money. Portland’s willingness to spend could pay off.
Coaching carousel report: Nate McMillan targets Bill Bayno in Indiana; Dave Joerger to keep Nancy Lieberman with Kings
Bayno, the former UNLV head coach, had not been in the NBA this season but had been with Dwane Casey in Toronto the two seasons before that, and before that had been an assistant with Minnesota and Portland.
Corliss Willamson had been popular with players in Sacramento, as had Nancy Lieberman — but she also had a big fan on owner Vivek Ranadive. She is one of only two full-time female assistant coaches in the NBA (along with Becky Hammond in San Antonio).
Kevin Love steps on referees foot, tweaks knee, sits fourth; expect to play in Game 5
“I think Kyrie [Irving] was shooting towards the end of the third quarter, and I stepped on the official’s foot, and it didn’t feel too great,” said Love, who had a total of 13 points and 11 rebounds in Games 3 and 4. “More so the knee [than the ankle hurting]. Will be sore tomorrow, but nothing that will prevent me from playing.”
Love had seemed to find a groove playing with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to start the playoffs, averaging 18.4 points per game and shooting 44.9 percent from three in the playoffs as the Cavaliers opened the playoffs with 10 straight wins. But like a few Cavaliers, his shooting has gone ice-cold in Canada — he also was rejected at the rim by Bismack Biyombo. Frye has played in crunch time because he is hitting shots.
“I had a lot of great shots, I just didn’t knock them down,” Love said. “It’s a simple as that. I had a lot of confidence in shooting the ball, a lot of really wide open 3’s, especially to start that first quarter. A number of them went in and out, so I just need to continue to stay aggressive.”
This series is knotted 2-2, and the Cavaliers need Love to find his shot before Wednesday night’s Game 5 — the Cavaliers have a series on their hands.
Kevin Love shut down at the rim by Bismack Biyombo (VIDEO)
His biggest play of the night was this clean block of Kevin Love at the rim. Love passed to LeBron James in the post, caught his defender napping and cut the rim, got the pass back from James and… denied.
Biyombo also got LeBron James at the rim but was called for a foul much to the dismay of Biyombo, Raptors fans, and the ESPN broadcast crew (it was the right call — watch Biyombo leap across the lane, he is anything but vertical, he contacts LeBron’s body, that’s a foul). Either way it’s worth watching.