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Celtics plan to run more of their offense through Kevin Garnett

Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett walks off the

Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett walks off the court after Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Knicks. (April 20, 2013) Credit: Getty

More Kevin Garnett.

That's what the Boston Celtics say they have in store for the Knicks Tuesday night in Game 2 as they try to even their best-of-seven series before heading back home.

By running their offense through Garnett more, the Celtics hope to cut down on turnovers, improve ball movement and establish a third scoring option that was missing in their 85-78 Game 1 loss.

How exactly are they going to accomplish that? They're not saying.

"I don't want to talk too much about it, but we've got to involve him more," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Sunday. "There's a better way to do it than the way we did it."

Garnett scored only eight points on 4-for-12 shooting in Game 1, which he attributed Sunday to a lack of opportunities.

Part of the problem is that the Celtics admittedly don't have a true point guard on the roster, which makes clean and crisp ball movement all the more important in their half-court sets.

That didn't happen Saturday, especially in a second half in which the Celtics scored 25 points, and that's a big reason why they want to involve the versatile Garnett more than they did.

"We have to play through Kevin a lot more," Paul Pierce said. "He's one of our best passers and most unselfish players. We've got to do a better job of just getting him the ball a lot more than he got it."

In lieu of practice Sunday, the Celtics gathered their players in a conference room at their midtown hotel to watch tape of their series-opening loss.

Speaking outside the hotel conference room, Rivers said he planned to show his players a number of instances in which players forced a pass to Garnett in the post, leading to a turnover. The Celtics seemed to abandon Garnett down the stretch and rely too much on Pierce and Jeff Green.

"Paul is really good and so is Jeff, and we can't just lean on them and say, 'Win it,' " Rivers said. "And it turned into that in the second half. It looked like they kept throwing it to them and standing and say, 'Go do something.' That's just hard to win that way."

Enter Garnett. The 36-year-old perennial All-Star is coming off a topsy-turvy 18th NBA season in which his playing time was limited to five-minute stretches each game to protect his body from breaking down. But he suffered inflammation in his left foot last month that forced him to miss 12 of the final 17 games.

He's not the scorer he used to be -- he averaged only 14.8 points this season -- but he still has the ability to be a playmaker on offense, something the Celtics desperately could have used down the stretch in Game 1.

And they know it.

"Doc said he wants Kevin to be aggressive, he wants him to take 20 shots," Pierce said, "but even if we run plays for Kevin, he's so responsible, he's going to find the open man and be responsible with the ball."

New York Sports