At 37 years old, Kevin Garnett’s not playing much anymore. Nets coach Jason Kidd seems worried about throwing him out for more than 20 minutes per game. But no one doubts that Garnett throws everything he’s got into the game, and that’s just what he did in this sequence in Game 3 of the first round of the Nets-Raptors playoff series.
Seeing a loose ball on defense, Garnett tracked it down in the backcourt and dove on it ahead of younger, lither Toronto Raptors players. He gained possession for Brooklyn, screaming and brandishing the “BROOKLYN” on his jersey in celebration as the crowd roared in response.
I’ve been at Barclays Center for a lot of games. I was there for the Brooklyn chants after their first win over the New York Knicks. I was listening when Joe Johnson dropped eight threes in a quarter. I was right there when Deron Williams dropped 42 points and eleven three-pointers. But when Garnett pops up here and starts screaming, the crowd just frenzied in a new, different way. It was all the appreciation they had for Reggie Evans’s hustle wrapped up with all the athletic deification that comes with watching Kevin Garnett. He didn’t exude dominance, but an understanding of each possession’s importance. Some talk it, Kevin Garnett dives it.
What Garnett did was small. It wasn’t a feat of athletic superhuman talent or greatness. But it was a reminder of why the hell he’s here in the first place, and why the Nets desperately needed someone with his command.