It doesn't take much to get under Kevin Garnett's skin — typically, the slightest hint of a bad call from a ref or an elbow from an opposing big guy is enough to set him off.
So when you call KG out and it makes waves in the national media, yeah, that's probably going to raise red flags for the Celtics' forward. Phil Jackson knows this, and there were definitely ulterior motives at play when the Lakers coach took a little jab at KG earlier this week.
"He is who he is," the Zen Master said of his own power forward, Pau Gasol. "We're not going to make him into Garnett. He's not going to go around and punch guys in the [groin]. He's too nice of a guy.
"This is an intelligent person who understands what this game is about. We've been to the Finals three years in a row, so that's part of it."
Jackson manages to cram quite a few cheap shots all into a couple of sentences — he implies that KG is a cheap-shot artist, that he's unintelligent, and that, oh yeah, by the way, he's only been to two Finals. He knows he's got a good chance of getting KG riled up. Typical Zen Master.
How will KG respond? Will he come out like a man possessed on Thursday night, telling Jackson where he can stick his Finals experience? Or will he remain composed and focused, unmoved by the Lakers' coach and his gamesmanship?
We'll find out Thursday night at the Garden.