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Garnett puts a rap on fine effort

Veteran scores 24, extends 3-point streak

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / February 6, 2012
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Kevin Garnett was sounding his own version of an old alarm after the Celtics’ 98-80 win over Memphis yesterday at TD Garden. Garnett had produced an efficient, team-oriented 24-point, nine-rebound performance. Then, he went tangential as he was asked about his three-game 3-pointer streak.

“Don’t get used to it, y’all,’’ Garnett said.

During a two-minute “One if by land, two if by sea, three if by Garnett’’ monologue, he then expressed a desire to send his message from North Station to Concord and Lexington and across the country, justifying both his reluctance and sudden willingness to fire away from distance. Garnett was able to find a balance between defensiveness and humor with a spontaneous rap, his uninhibited reply also reflecting satisfaction with the Celtics’ current winning ways.

“Listen, I can shoot threes,’’ Garnett said. “Cut this, all right? Then I don’t want no more questions. Y’all acting like I’m old, out here on one leg. Some nights are better - I’m human, I miss some, I make mistakes, but I can shoot threes.

“I don’t shoot threes because we have the greatest all-time 3-point shooter in the history [Ray Allen], we have Paul Pierce, who’s won the 3-point contest. We have other guys who can shoot threes - that ain’t my role here. My role is to get those guys open. When they throw it to me, shoot it, dunk it, pass it - OK, cool - but I can shoot threes.

“When I walk around the streets, y’all stop acting shocked I can shoot threes. Everybody in Boston, everybody in the world, everybody in Minnesota, LA, wherever I’m at; Concord, Lexington, Burlington. I can shoot threes, OK? Let that go.

“Doc [Rivers] was yelling at me, ‘Shoot, shoot, shoot.’

“Finally, I just shot the three and said, ‘Huh, that’s what you want, man? That’s what you want?’ I can shoot threes. I can shoot threes, all right?

“Look, don’t - do not get all like ‘Shoot a three’ - I don’t want that, like, ‘Shoot!’ Don’t y’all do that to me, OK? I’m not on the Celtics to be out here shooting threes,’ OK? I am here to do other things, not to shoot threes. But I can shoot threes, OK? Any more questions?’’

In a five-day period, Garnett has converted all three of his 3-point attempts - in wins over Toronto Wednesday, New York Friday, and yesterday. Since the 2007-08 season, Garnett had never made more than two in a season and was 6 for 31 on 3-pointers since joining the Celtics.

After one game, Garnett noted he was not going to become “like [ex-Celtic] Rasheed Wallace.’’

But Rivers appreciates Garnett’s willingness to increase his shooting range, though he also recognizes the 3-point subject pushes buttons with Garnett.

“Well, he’s shooting it well,’’ Rivers said. “I mean, it’s nice. It gives us another option at the end of the game. Don’t tell him I said that.’’

Garnett usually prefers to circulate the ball during Celtics possessions before facing up for shots. On his 3-pointer against Memphis, though, the shot came off one pass on an inbounds play for a 56-45 lead with 6:26 remaining in the third quarter. Garnett then was replaced by Chris Wilcox.

But Garnett was on topic regarding the Celtics’ recent play.

“For the most part, as of late, we’ve been winning games because of our defense,’’ he said. “Turning up the heat, defensively, man, it’s been causing turnovers - leads to easy baskets, offensive flow, etc., etc.

“I’ve always said we’re a defensive team that scores the ball and I think we’re getting back to that. I don’t believe we are [now], because of practice times and things of that such. The timing of the schedule makes it hard to just create a rhythm. But, for the most part, defensively, we’re in a strong rhythm that we trust.

“We’re back to being talkative as a team and it’s leading to easy baskets and better offensive flow. But, still a work in progress. But I think we’re happier with things that’s going on lately.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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