Kevin Garnett learned the NBA under the tutelage of Sam Mitchell and a few other veteran Minnesota Timberwolves.
It's not a stretch to say there's a player in the NBA not on the Raptors that Sam doesn't know better than Garnett. Of course that runs both ways.
Mitchell the head coach was a perfect 6-0 in his career against Garnett until the big man moved to Boston. Since the move, coming into last night's game Garnett and the Celtics were a perfect 3-0.
Even last season when still with the T'Wolves, Garnett said he knew the secret to shutting down Mitchell-coached teams but clearly didn't have the horses to get the job done. Say what you want about Boston's depth, but Garnett has clearly found whatever he was lacking in Minnesota here in Boston and has put that plan in action.
This quote came from Garnett last April after the Raps had just routed the Timberwolves as he explained how to counter Mitchell's pick and roll:
"If you have good weakside help, then nine times out of 10, that neutralizes the pick and roll," Garnett said. "If you have an aggressive guard sometimes I personally try to trap the point guard and get the ball to a three or maybe a four. A lot of times fours and fives set the pick and you force them to make a point guard decision and nine times out of 10 out of that, they're not good at it ... It all depends on communication and how well your weakside defence is. If your weakside is asleep as we say or just sitting over there, the pick and roll is fully effective."
The difference in Boston has been the presence of 6-foot-10 Kendrick Perkins who stays home under the basket while Garnett roams to cut the guard off. That and a veteran team that knows how to play team defence has managed to turn the tables in the Garnett/Mitchell battle.
OLYMPIC QUALIFYING UPDATE
Canada finds out how tough the battle is going to be in Greece this summer a week from today when FIBA announces the draw for the Olympic qualifying tournament which will decide the three final berths for the tournament in Beijing.
Canada joins Cameroon, Cape Verde, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Lebanon, Korea, Greece, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia and New Zealand in the July 14-20 tournament which will be held in Maroussi.
The draw will split the teams into four groups of three. The three teams will face each other once with the top two advancing to the quarter-finals.