“We just need him to be aggressive,’’ Perkins said. “We need Kevin to be Kevin. We feel like he’s got a great matchup against Antawn Jamison on the block. So we’ve just got to keep going at it and making him keep being aggressive. When he’s not shooting, he’s hurting the team.’’
“We want Kevin to be more aggressive,” C’s coach Doc Rivers said. “I told him 20 (shots) isn’t enough. I want 25. I just think the more aggressive he is – even when he doesn’t even shoot the ball – the more we can go to him, good things happen.”
I’ve got a problem with Doc’s quote. I’m fine with the Celtics going to Garnett early and often — since before the series, I have listed his matchup with Jamison as one of the Celtics’ key advantages. Garnett is simply too long and too skilled for Jamison to compete with when Garnett’s in the low post.
But 25 shots per game? Let’s take it easy Doc. The Cavs are starting to send double teams Garnett’s way, so shots are going to be less open than before. He needs to be aggressive, but if the look isn’t there he needs to do what he does best — find open teammates. Garnett has always been a great passer for a big man, and the fact that he’s being double-teamed now should open up lanes and opportunities for his teammates. At this point, his passing will be at least as valuable as his scoring.
Besides that, let’s not overhype what Garnett has done so far. He hasn’t even played that well offensively yet. He’s put up good numbers (18 points and 10 rebounds in each game), but has shot less than 50% in each game. And he’s taken a hell of a lot of shots to get those numbers. Garnett took 20 shots to score 18 in the first game, and 21 shots in the second game to score the same amount of points. I’m no mathematician or anything, but that equals less than one point per shot. By any measure, that’s not good.
Garnett’s biggest problem so far is that he isn’t getting to the free throw line. He’s only taken two free throws all series. When you don’t hit three-pointers and can’t get to the line, even if you shoot a good percentage you aren’t going to have a high points-per-shot. He should get to the line a little more often in Boston than he did on the road, but he hasn’t gotten to the line frequently all season long.
But all my quibbles about points-per-shot and everything else are just quibbles. Garnett should get a lot of touches, and he’s playing as well now as he has all season. He should abuse Jamison, and he should continue to be as aggressive as he can.
But 25 shots per game? Let’s not get wild, Doc.