"That's what this interview's going to be about?" he asked the media. From there, the subject quickly changed.
Garnett and the Suns have had plenty of back-and-forth dialogue over the last month. Ever since the questionable cheap shot that KG took at Channing Frye in a double-digit loss at Phoenix on Jan. 28, the venom has been flowing. Suns coach Alvin Gentry took a shot at KG in February, saying he'd lost respect for the C's star. KG's coach Doc Rivers later defended him, telling local media that Gentry talks too much. The talk went back and forth, back and forth, and it all boiled over Wednesday at the TD Garden.
There was plenty more talk Wednesday, from both sides. Even Steve Nash and Rajon Rondo, two of the quieter players on the floor, were getting into it. But more importantly, there was KG deciding to settle the matter with his play. The Big Ticket went off for 28 points, a new season high, plus 11 rebounds as he led the Celtics to a decisive win.
"I just didn't like the way I played last time I played the Suns," Garnett said after fueling the Celtics' 115-103 win. "So I made it a point this time to play better. That's what I did."
Garnett tried hard to ignore the trash-talking element of this matchup. He tried to make it about the game and the game only. But the talk was hard to ignore.
Gentry was talking from the Suns' bench, yapping at any Celtic who'd listen. Paul Pierce had a huge dunk on Frye and stood over him after the finish, lording it over him to the point of a technical. Rondo took an unnecessary 3-pointer in the final seconds with the win already in the bag, and an angry Jared Dudley fouled him. The mild-mannered Nash got a technical for screaming obscenities at officials. Unsportsmanlike conduct was on display all night.
"I think it was something that carried over from the game in Phoenix," Pierce said. "It got kind of heated down the stretch, and some words were said in the paper on Phoenix's side. We were hyped for this game, truthfully. We couldn't wait to get them back in our building after what happened last time and some of the words that were fired at us last time. It was very refreshing to get this win."
You could tell the Celtics wanted it. They went on a 10-0 run early in the game, leading 16-8 after only four minutes. They pushed their lead to 20 by halftime, and as high as 29 in the third quarter.
Garnett was pacing the C's all along. He hit all of his first seven shot attempts, burying the Suns early. He stayed aggressive even in the third quarter, when the game was pretty much decided, and he didn't let up.
It was his sixth consecutive double-double and 22nd of the season.
"We're pretty unbeatable when Kevin puts up these types of numbers every night," Rondo said. "He was aggressive, and we fed off of his energy."
"I think he sees the light at the end of the tunnel, truthfully," added Pierce. "He sees the end of the season coming, and this is about the time of the year, a month and a half to go in the season, for us to start picking it up, trying to be at where we want to be at going into the playoffs. You're starting to see a real concerted effort from Kevin. He's getting his legs under him and doing everything for us."
Kevin Garnett's always been motivated, but it was never clearer than on Wednesday night. From here, he'll look to keep that momentum going.
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