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June 12, 2008

Kevin Garnett


Q. As you and your team get closer to what you dreamed about your whole career and you guys have all talked about it on the split screen during these playoffs, does it feel closer right now?
KEVIN GARNETT: At this moment a little bit, a little bit. We know we're 3-1. But the job isn't finished. But yeah, we seem a little closer, a little closer to the goal.

Q. One win away, all right; can you taste it? And second of all, how do you deal with over-confidence knowing that you're going to be heavily favored to not lose three straight?
KEVIN GARNETT: Yeah, I can taste it. But at the same time, I think Pose said this in the locker room, he and Sam, we know that we have obviously one win away from our goal, and that's the focus. Nothing more, nothing less than that. It's not a thing of being over-confident. I thought tonight we fought back, not giving up, continuing to understand there was three more quarters to play, and won the game.
Sunday, these two days will be preparation up to closing out Sunday. So it's not a sense of over-confidence, it's just what we've got to do to close this thing out.

Q. What was the mentality and what were you guys saying to each other coming out of halftime going into that key third quarter?
KEVIN GARNETT: The mentality at halftime was to definitely not start the second half like we did the first half. I took a lot of onus on myself. It was a horrible first quarter for myself personally, and I've got to take a lot of credit in my defense and trying to be the anchor, and I just thought I was a terrible example to start.
So first off, I wanted to be a lot more aggressive, obviously, on the offensive end, but defensively I wanted to be sound.
Third quarter was probably the most important because it sets the tone for how it's going to be, how the second half is going to be played. I thought we came out with a lot more energy, executed. When we had to, we made shots.

Q. I also just want to ask you about Doc Rivers. Why do you think he's done such a good job coaching in this series? What has he done best?
KEVIN GARNETT: Doc is not afraid to tell us -- I can't say that. Doc is not afraid to tell us when we're messing up, and I've been around for a while and I've seen some coaching sort of say the right thing. He gives it to you straight, lets us know, and he's probably one of the best motivators I've been around in a while. He gives us hope through his words, and we believe it. We go out and we try to do what's asked of us.
I thought for the most part he gave us confidence and just told us, hey, cut it to 10, cut it to 7, let's get it to 3, and we just continued to fight. And that's what it was.

Q. You talked about that offensive aggressiveness. Can you go into detail on that, especially in the fourth quarter? You were getting inside the paint, backing people down more than we've seen you do this series.
KEVIN GARNETT: I told you I wasn't happy with my game in Game 3. I'm not perfect, but I knew after watching the tape, even before I put the tape in, I knew what kind of focus I had to have in this game, and it would have to be in aggressive mode from the giddy-up. But for the most part I was trying to put the pressure on Lamar and then on Pau or whoever, but at the same time understand the traps and the different schemes they were doing defensively.
Second half I thought I did a better job of just being patient. They didn't really trap that much the second half. They went straight up, and when they did trap, I was able to find either E. House or James Posey, and they hit shots.

Q. How much when you got down like you did was there a confidence because of your ability to rely on your defense, which has been the best all season in the league and effective all throughout these playoffs, that you had confidence that you could come back because of the way you play defense?
KEVIN GARNETT: Well, we don't lack any confidence. They're playing at home, and home is always where your heart is and where you're most comfortable. For them to come out the way they did, I thought they came out really aggressive. He wasn't nearly as aggressive as he was the second half.
But we don't lack any confidence. Our biggest thing is consistency on the defensive end, like you said. We see ourselves as a defensive team that can score. When we got there, we relied on our defense. They got lay-ups and free throws. They really didn't shoot the ball, they had a couple jumpers, maybe Kobe. But after that it was lay-up after lay-up. We felt like once we shut that down, it was pretty sound after that.

Q. Humongous third quarter for you, but the Lakers seemed to lose their aggression. Did you sense a point in the third quarter when they started losing that aggressive attitude they had in the first half?
KEVIN GARNETT: Well, this team is -- if you watch them, if you've paid attention to them all year, usually the first half is team ball, second half is usually Kobe takes over the games. Like you said, they weren't nearly as aggressive as they were the first half. It just looks like they wanted to get the ball to Kobe and him sort of finish it off. That's what it looked like to me. It didn't really look cohesive like they did in the first half. The second half I thought they took the lay-ups away, made them go to the second and third options. We were giving Kobe every look we've got in the book, from different matchups to trapping him to a guy on the bottom. We were just making other guys make plays.

Q. Can you talk about Kobe normally takes over in the second half. Can you talk about how Paul contained him?
KEVIN GARNETT: I thought Paul did a decent job on him. A player like Kobe, you're not going to stop him. He has too much stuff in his arsenal with threes and being able to go left and right, one dribble pull-ups and just an arsenal of moves. I thought P just did a good job of keeping a hand up, keeping him in front of him, contesting the shots. When he drove, we tried to give him some help. Great players, you can't shut them down, you can only contain them, and I thought he did a decent job of doing that.

Q. You have been around for a long time. As you said, you've been a dominant player in this league for a long time. This is a new experience, in a way. Do you find yourself still learning new things about yourself, new things about the game that maybe -- just when you think you kind of know everything, you find something else, something different just as you get to unprecedented levels?
KEVIN GARNETT: I'm 32 years old, I don't know everything; I know that. My philosophy in life is just you can learn something every day, if not multiple things. Hell, I've been in the first round before and I learned something this year in the first round just like I did in the second and third and probably in The Finals.
The thing is to apply what you learn in your life. Easier said than done at times, but yeah, I've learned numerous things.

End of FastScripts

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