BOSTON -- While expressing frustration with his team's slow starts, Celtics forward Kevin Garnett pointed to himself among the chief beginning-of-the-game offenders. Garnett missed all five shots he took as part of a scoreless first half in Friday's loss to the Chicago Bulls, reaching intermission with more fouls (3) than rebounds (2) in 14½ minutes of court time.
Garnett chipped in eight points on 4-of-11 shooting, adding seven rebounds over 33:52, but Boston's feverish second-half rally from a 20-point deficit came up short in an 88-79 defeat at TD Garden.
"My frustration starts with the man in the mirror," Garnett said. "I definitely gotta do better and I’m going to do better. [I'm going to] watch tons of film and just continue to better myself, that’s all I can do. And continue to encourage my teammates and continue to be the glue, or one of the pieces of the glue, and just stay supportive."
Garnett, who has been inconsistent out of the gates to start the 2011-12 season and was one of the most outspoken critics of the condensed training camp, continues to preach patience despite Boston's 4-6 record and his personal struggles.
"You don’t win anything in the first month, I do know that," he said. "It doesn’t help when you’re losing. But at the same time, adversity says a lot about who you are. I’d rather go through this now versus later. That’s what it is."
Garnett walked through the locker room after the game with a limp and his left ankle wrapped in ice. Asked later about a potential ailment, he gave his trademark, "Y'all take it easy," before departing to catch the team's midnight flight to Indianapolis for the second half of a back-to-back against the Pacers on Saturday night.
Before he departed, Garnett reiterated his promise that this team will eventually put things together, even if he admitted to sounding like a broken record after recent defeats.
"We’ll get it, we’ll get it," he said. "We’re a group of guys that are very prideful, not ego driven -- hard workers. We come in here, we lace them up, we get in here for however long we're out there. Like I said, man, you don’t win anything in the first month. We learn a lot about ourselves while we’re here too.
"We're all in here, we understand what it is. We’re all trying to figure this thing out together. These are the dog days, man. These are the days when you're really going to see who’s with you [or] who’s fair-weather."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers admitted it's been tough trying to figure out the right pattern to maximize Garnett's minutes. The team has tried to employ three five-minute bursts per half, but nothing has felt quite right.
"I don’t know, it’s tough," Rivers said. "He wanted to go longer and then he looked over at me after [the first] seven [minutes] and he needed a blow. It’s just a tough one. I’m still working on that one, honestly. I like it, honestly, [but] it's amazing. Three times today, [Garnett is] giving you nothing for about four minutes, and then right at the fifth minute when he [is about to] come out, he makes a shot. And then your every impulse is, ‘Oh gosh. You've got to keep him in.' And then you risk the rest of the game. So it’s just a tough call right now. I still like it. I don’t love it. But I think it’s what we have to do.”
"Right now, we’re trying to get some cohesiveness with the offense," Garnett said. "But we’re a defensive team. Doc’s going to play with different lineups and do what he feels is best for the team. And we’re going to support whatever that is."