In the Celtics’ 92-91 win in Game 1 on Saturday night, Garnett provided a lethal dose of jumpers. Garnett had 29 points on 12-of-20 shooting, including 6-of-9 from 16-23 feet.
Garnett always has been known as automatic on those jumpers just inside the 3-point line. He made 48 percent of his shots from 16-23 feet during the season, which is 10 points higher than the league average from that range.
That information was all contained in Philadelphia’s scouting report, and Collins was fine with yielding those shots. But if Garnett continues to make two-thirds of his jumpers, there’s not much the Sixers can do.
Collins’ fear is that if the Sixers dedicate too much attention to Garnett then the rest of the Celtics will take advantage of the subsequent openings. The reason Garnett finds himself open so often is that his man is helping to stop the penetration of Rajon Rondo [stats] or Paul Pierce [stats] on a pick-and-roll.
Doug Collins is a very good coach. He knows basketball. But I'm not sure he's making the right decision here. Heck, I'm positive.
Let KG shoot? Garnett nails those 20 footers in his sleep. Even when KG is off his game, he's making those shots.
I'd let Rondo penetrate and take a floater in the lane or yield jumpers to an injured Paul Pierce before I let Garnett torch me.
Related link: CSNNE – Celtics taking advantage of small ball lineup
On Page 2, Mickael Pietrus is really struggling.
But after seven playoff games he’s shooting 2-for-15, or 13 percent, from long range. Overall he’s been almost as bad, at 4-for-17 (24 percent). Pietrus, though, can stick one of his broad smiles on just about any situation.
Pietrus is on the right team, he says, to be mired in a postseason shooting slump. He’s on the right team because his more consistent talent — sticky defense on all three wing positions — is equally valued.
“I have to keep shooting,” Pietrus said. “I always believe my next shot is going to fall. You have to believe that. You’re going to go through a stretch like that sometimes. If offensively nothing is going the way you want it, at the end of the day I’m still looking to beat the Sixers.
“I always keep my spirits up. It’s the playoffs, and the Celtics are good defensively, so my defense is always going to be there. It’s not funny, but sometimes you just have to keep working on it and keep shooting.”
4-for-17… that's all? I thought Pietrus' shooting numbers were worse. He's been so bad, I thought he was mired in some 0-fer streak.
The worm has to turn eventually, right?
Related link: CSNNE – Pietrus not concerned about shooting struggles
The rest of the links:
Globe – Allen's career arc includes role of decoy | Turner learns his way | Every minute counts for Sixers | WEEI – Kevin Garnett: A lion in spring | Herald – KG's bold assertion | CSNNE Video: Scal/Max say KG key to Celtics run
Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images