March 4, 2011
WARRIORS (27-33) vs.
Coverage begins at 4 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
BOSTON (AP) -- Kevin Garnett's 24-point performance against the Golden State Warriors last week marked his best offensive game in almost three months. He didn't wait nearly that long to top it.
Coming off his highest-scoring effort in nearly three years, Garnett looks to stay hot Friday night against the visiting Warriors as he tries to lead the Boston Celtics to a fourth straight win.
Garnett has helped Boston (44-15) establish a reputation as the league's best defensive team since arriving in the summer of 2007, but his age, an excellent supporting cast and a few nagging injuries have kept him from being the consistent offensive force he was in Minnesota.
Since the All-Star break, he's done an awfully good impression of the player that averaged at least 21.2 points for eight straight seasons. Garnett had 24 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in a 115-93 rout of the Warriors (27-33) on Feb. 22, at the time the most points he'd put up since scoring 26 against Toronto on Nov. 26.
After three more double-doubles that brought his streak to five, Garnett outdid himself Wednesday against Phoenix. He had 28 points and 11 rebounds in Boston's 115-103 victory. The most were the most in a regular-season game for the 14-time All-Star since March 26, 2008, when he scored 30.
"I walked into shootaround before the game and put 20 on the board and said 'that's how many attempts you should have,'" coach Doc Rivers explained. "You shouldn't go through a game where a smaller big is on you and not get 20 attempts."
All of Garnett's points came in the first 33 minutes as he helped put the Celtics up by as many as 29. Boston improved to 10-1 this season - and 32-6 over the past three seasons - when Garnett scores at least 19 points.
Garnett might have to do a little bit more offensively with fellow low-post threat Glen Davis on the shelf for at least a week. Davis hurt his knee going up for a dunk late against the Suns, and was diagnosed Thursday with patellar tendinitis.
That should mean more time for recent acquisitions Nenad Krstic and Troy Murphy, who played 14 minutes and scored one point in his Celtics debut Wednesday - two days after he was bought out by Golden State.
The loss to the Celtics began a four-game skid for the Warriors, but they put an end to it Wednesday in Washington - barely. Golden State was up by 20 points late in the third before watching the lead shrink to one, but held on for a 106-102 victory behind 29 points from Stephen Curry.
"When you've gone through a streak of losing, to get a win - no matter how it ends up - nobody will pay attention to how the fourth quarter went," coach Keith Smart said after the Warriors improved to 1-2 on their seven-game road trip.
If Golden State plans on winning in Boston for the first time since Garnett's arrival, it will likely need more from Monta Ellis than the 15 points he contributed while shooting 6 of 18 last week. Ellis has been held to 17.0 points per game - 7.7 below his average - and 36.2 percent shooting since the All-Star break.
The Warriors also need to slow down Rajon Rondo, who's averaged 22.3 points and 14.0 assists in his last three games in this series.
Al Thornton, released by Washington earlier this week, is expected to be in uniform for Golden State after signing with the Warriors on Thursday.