The one constant in the 76ers Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Boston Celtics is that there has been no answer for Kevin Garnett.
On a night that began with Garnett picking up two first quarter fouls, he stayed out of foul trouble the rest of the way and torched the Sixers in helping the Celtics take a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven series.
Garnett finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds and he shot 12 for 17 from the field in Wednesday’s 107-91 win at the Wells Fargo Center.
During the three games, KG has shot 31 for 49 for a blistering 63.3 percent.
What is interesting is that the beginning of Game 3, he gave no indication he’d be such a dominant scorer.
Garnett picked up his second foul and departed after playing 6 minutes and 25 seconds in the first quarter. He had four first quarter points.
The Celtics were down 33-28 after one quarter. Garnett then played almost the entire second period, 11 minutes and 34 seconds and was a dominant force. He scored 13 second quarter points, shooting 6 for 8 from the field and added seven rebounds.
Boston went from being down five to up by 11 at halftime, 60-49. Garnett was the single biggest factor.
“Garnett was terrific tonight,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said.
Then again, that could be said all series for Garnett, who turns 36 on May 19.
Garnett isn’t the 40-minute a night player he once was, but he’s showing in this series, where there are no back to back games, that he still has plenty left.
In the three games he is averaging 34.3 minutes per game. Due to the second half rout, Garnett only played a shade over 30 minutes in Game 3, so he almost averaged a point per minute.
“He got his ball in spots,” said Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, who had 23 points and 14 assists. “He hit a couple fadeaways. A lot of those guys are smaller than him so he was just able to turn around and shoot over them.”
So the Sixers will continue to look for answers to slow Garnett down, something that has become an exercise in frustration.
“We just have to go out there and find a way to stop him, which is probably just pushing him out of the paint and not letting him get as many post-ups,” said Thaddeus Young, who had his best game of the postseason with 22 points and five rebounds. “We have to double-team him on the catch a little bit more and get the ball out of his hands.”
Easier said than done. No matter what, Garnett must be slowed if the SIxers have a chance in this series.