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Celtics center Kevin Garnett continues to use the pundits as motivation to fuel his 2012 fire.BOSTON -- The question for Kevin Garnett after Wednesday's win over the Orlando Magic was rather innocuous: Given all the adversity the Celtics had encountered during the 2011-12 season, what did winning the Atlantic Division title mean to him?
"Never count us out," said Garnett, who was just getting started. While the Celtics don't typically put much stock in winning a division title -- coach Doc Rivers said this is about the first year he's even celebrated the feat -- Garnett continues to draw insane amounts of inspiration from the idea that pundits buried Boston's chances for success (even something as simple as winning the division title) as they labored through the first half of the season.
"You guys called us old. Over. I read some of your pathetic articles, some of your lousy analysis," Garnett said half-jokingly before playfully scanning the crowd of reporters in front of him. "Obviously, you don’t know what drives us. We thank y’all for those articles, we appreciate it because it lit a fire under us.
"One of the hardest things I’ve always said in this league is to create chemistry. I know at some point we were all, as a unit, would get a rhythm and ride that rhythm out. I think that’s what you’ve seen since the All-Star break. We’ve come back refreshed, focused. Like I said, we haven’t had a lot of practice time to implement a system of schemes, but we do have a core here and what you’ve seen up until this point to obviously come to a point to where we’ve won the division is not only confidence, but believing in that system and believing in that rhythm and riding that rhythm out.
"Like I’ve always said since I’ve been here, you can rewind the tapes right now -- different outfit, no scarf, same frames -- that in order to build chemistry, it’s a process. You just don’t do that in one or two days. And we’re a very confident team, I’ve always said that; we never lack that. To be able to come and win your division is a huge thing. So, all those things combined is what you got today."
Just three weeks ago, Garnett offered a similar sentiment while saying he heard all the pundits calling him old. This time around he didn't make fun of anyone's hair, but it's clear that the No. 1 motivation tool for Garnett at the moment is the "us against the world" mentality. That said, unless our RSS feeds are busted, it's been about two straight months of nothing but flowery praise for resurgent Garnett and many national observers have actually hopped on the Celtics bandwagon given their past playoff experience that could aid them in the postseason.
Maybe coach Doc Rivers is having his support staff crank out fake game recaps that they tuck into Garnett's locker with headlines like, "Celtics top Magic, no thanks to old-man Garnett," or "Boston wins fifth straight division title despite old No. 5."