Kevin Garnett Comes Up Big on Defense Against Former Team

1,640

Kevin Garnett Comes Up Big on Defense Against Former Team While he ranks as Minnesota's all-time leader in almost every major statistical category, Kevin Garnett took with him to Boston a defensive presence the Timberwolves may never duplicate.

He seems to call attention to that each time they meet.

For the second time in three all-time meetings with Minnesota, Garnett made a big play on defense in the closing seconds to help the Celtics hang on for a 92-90 win Wednesday night.

It was a moment that reminded the T-Wolves what they're missing, reminded the C's what they gained and allowed Boston to remain one of two undefeated teams in the NBA.

"We executed when we had to," Garnett said. "I think everybody was a step slow tonight. I was trying to generate some energy myself and I tried to do it on the defensive end."

With the Celtics leading by two points and under 10 seconds remaining, Timberwolves guard Corey Brewer attempted to drive around a wall of Boston defenders, flanked on one side by Garnett.

Brewer was swallowed up by Garnett, who got his hands on the ball to force a tie-up and a jump ball with 3.6 seconds left.

On the ensuing jump, Garnett slapped the ball toward the backcourt and out of bounds, giving Minnesota too little time to get off much more than a prayer.

"Doc told me to hit it long, get the ball in the air with some loft on it," Garnett said of the jump. "I thought I did a good job of it."

The 33-year-old finished with 12 points, a game-high 11 rebounds and three blocked shots, recovering from a five-point performance the night before that ranked as his lowest scoring output since 1996.

Almost 12 years later, following his trade to Boston, Garnett would first victimize the Timberwolves with a series of plays reminiscent of Wednesday night.

On Jan. 25, 2008, playing against Minnesota for the first time, Garnett was forced to the locker room with an abdominal strain but returned in time, against trainer Ed Lacerte's recommendation, to make a critical stop.

With Boston leading by a point and the Wolves playing for the last shot, Garnett poked the ball away from Sebastian Telfair before flailing to the floor to secure the ball as time expired.

The steal, and what Garnett said after that game when asked of the injury — "My philosophy has always been that if I can play, if I can run, if I can move, if I can blink, if I can wake up in the morning, I'm going to play" — created a seminal moment early in the Celtics' championship run.

How Garnett's latest defensive magic act plays out in the long run remains to be seen. For now, it's another reminder of bygone days in Minneapolis.

TMZ logo

© 2018 NESN

Partner of USATODAY Sports Digital Properties