Welcome to the Garden …

You might recall the teams’ last meeting when the Washington Wizards ran up an 11-point, second-half lead then self-destructed.


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Andray Blatche was the poster boy for the implosion. Kevin Garnett was the catalyst, playing Jedi mind tricks on the 23-year-old forward. But we’ll let Blatche tell the story:

“I’m a man, just like they a man. If a man is talking to me this close to my face,” Blatche said, moving his hand toward his cheek. “I’m going to say something back. He has to respect me just like I respect him. I just said, ‘Get up out of my face.’ He was this close in my face – I can feel his lips touching my cheek – I wasn’t bragging saying ‘Ah we winning.’ It was ‘Back up.’ ”

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And there you have it. Garnett’s in-your-face approach completely got under the Blatche’s skin.

Garnett’s tried it a handful of other times, jawing with everyone from Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings to New York’s Danilo Gallinari with mixed results. Mixed results, of course, is what the Celtics have seen recently, beating Houston, Dallas, Denver and Cleveland but also dropping games to San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and New York.

With four games remaining, it may be a little late to build that momentum they’ve talked about going into the playoffs. More to come.