BOSTON – After 20 years of legendary intensity and talent in the NBA, Kevin Garnett is playing what could be his final game in Boston. After six seasons playing at the Garden for the Celtics, Garnett is trying to carry a crumbling Nets squad that is looking to unload its bloated roster in an effort to start from scratch.
But KG continues to be a source of inspiration for his coach and teammates, with Lionel Hollins giving him high praise before facing the Celtics Friday.
"I’m honored and blessed to have had a chance to coach him. He’s a warrior. He’s very professional. He works hard. He’s there every morning at eight o’clock, helping the younger guys."
Garnett is known for being a unique and original player, but his new coach had a surprising comparison for the Big Ticket, likening Garnett to one of his disciples from back in his Boston days. "[Garnett] reminds me of Tony Allen. He is in there watching the halftime edit of the players, telling them what they should be doing and where they should be."
When a reporter pointed out that KG was likely the one that helped mentor Allen to be that type of player, Hollins replied, "It’s always nice to have leaders on the squad and to also have guys who are professional and mature."
Marcus Smart, starting at the point today after playing just 17 minutes during Tuesday’s disappointing loss at Orlando, received simple yet strong encouragement from Head Coach Brad Stevens.
"Coach told me to go out there and do what I do," Smart said. "Just go out there, play defense and try to bring energy."
With the trade of superstar Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks, Smart’s ascension into the starting lineup would seem to be a natural progression for the rookie out of Oklahoma State, despite his absence from the starting lineup during the Orlando game.
"We didn’t start off the game the way we wanted to, but the second unit picked it up," Smart mentioned. "I was trying to be the guy to lead by example, but also lead vocally, trying to encourage guys."
In what may feel like a whole season ago already, the Celtics throttled the Nets opening night 121-105 on October 29 at the TD Garden. KG and the Nets will look to even the score Friday afternoon.
Cory Prescott of CLNS Radio contributed to this report.
Will this be KG's final game in the Garden?
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