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Gasol: Garnett has "lost some explosiveness"

Jun 4, 2010, 7:49 PM EDT

Kevin Garnett bumps, yells at, curses at, and tries to intimidate every opponent he plays against, no matter how big (or small) that opponent may be. For years, he’s done everything he can to make Pau Gasol’s life miserable whenever the Lakers play the Celtics, and was able to limit Gasol’s production throughout the 2008 Finals. On Thursday night, Gasol got some revenge on KG, recording 23 points and 14 rebounds while holding Garnett to 16 points (on 16 shots) and four rebounds. 

According to Dave McMenamin and Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com, Gasol had some things to say about Garnett earlier today:
“On Kevin’s part, he’s also lost some explosiveness…He’s more of a jump shooter now you could say, comes off the lane. Before he had a really, really quick first step and was getting to the lane and he was more aggressive then. Time passes and we all suffer it one way or another, but he’s still a terrific player, a terrific competitor, and he’s going to bring everything he’s got. You can count on that.”

You have to love Pau Gasol; even when he’s (kind of) talking trash, he still sounds like a nice guy who respects his opponents. (By the way, statistics don’t support Gasol’s claim that Garnett is more of a jump shooter now than he was in 2008; 70% of Garnett’s shots were jumpers this season, as compared to 73% in the 2007-08 season. He’s certainly lost some explosiveness, but that loss of explosiveness hasn’t really manifested itself in his shot selection.) 

For his part, Garnett said that he didn’t take exception to Gasol’s comments about him, and that he has “no comments for [Gasol's] comments.” Garnett, Doc Rivers, and the rest of the Celtics are all optimistic about how Garnett will perform throughout the rest of the series; when asked to explain Garnett’s poor play in game one, almost every Celtic said in one way or another that Garnett just had one of those games, and that they fully expect him to look like himself in game two. It all sounds good enough; now Garnett just has to go out there and try and keep Gasol from abusing him the way he did in game one. 
  1. Bob Di Pietro - Jun 4, 2010 at 11:29 PM

    Maybe, in terms of his own experience playing Garnett, Gasol is accurate: with his (Gasol’s) length and deceptive, but exceptional, athleticism and quickness, he has been able to pressure the post-2008 Garnett into taking more jump shots than he (Garnett) continues to take against less imposing opponents; which, from Gasol’s perspective, would account for his view that Garnett drives the lanes less now than he did back in the–2008-day.

  2. Steve - Jun 4, 2010 at 11:32 PM

    Pau, you’ve got to learn to keep your mouth shut while the playoffs are going on. Why on earth would you want to give Garnett more motivation. Let your great play do your talking.

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  4. Namey Name - Jun 5, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    The question was about comparing he and KG from when he entered the league, not with 2008.

  5. Tsunami - Jun 5, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    Way to fire up KG.
    What were you thinking?
    Were you thinking?

  6. tradition - Jun 5, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    These guys are professional athletes, competing for the championship in their sport and it takes their opponent mouthing off to really get them up for a game, give me a break. I can’t wait to see everyone pile on Gasol if KG has a great game or start writing the obituaries if he “fails to respond” to Gasol’s candid assessment of his abilities.

  7. Hackpiper - Jun 5, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    Celts fan here…
    Gasol and the Lakers kicked Boston butts the other night. They’re entitled to say whatever the hell they want. KG and the others can respond on the court…or not. That will determine the series.
    IMHO…of course.

  8. Fair and Balaced Fredrico - Jun 5, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    Gasol tells the truth. Anyone who thinks
    that Garnett’s legs are anything like they
    used to be is seriously delusional.

  9. NickLA - Jun 5, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    the first stage of dominating Garnett is doing it mentally, then on the court. gasol is doing it all now, even though it was only 1 game. The celtics won 2 years ago because Gasol was new and Bynum was hurt.
    This will be a sweep, Kobe will not have it any other day. Wallace and garnett are going to do their usual antics. the doc will whine from the side, they’ll scream profanity at LA in Boston and Kobe will dance at the end of hame 4. I have never seen him this focused, even more so than last year. forget about there being a game 6 or 7. Kobe wants to win this in Boston, no doubt about it.
    The black mamba is in attack mode. All Boston can do is learn “karma” the hard way. what goes around comes around. LA will outhustle, outphysical boston throughout and there’s not a darn thing they can do about it. and it’s going to be ugly.

  10. raplh - Jun 5, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    leave it to the biased east coast media to try to stirr things up to see if it can get the celtics mad and inspire them to victory !

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