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What Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have said about the Celtics’ future


While both Hall of Famers noted the Celtics didn’t play with the right intensity in Game 7, Garnett called the loss a “process.”

Kevin Garnett called on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to take the next step in their maturation process after the Celtics lost in Game 7. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce believe the Celtics didn’t play with the right energy in their season-ending loss to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Although the Celtics are down five wins short of a title, the Hall of Famers believe Boston should mostly pick it up next season.

The two Celtics icons discussed their former team’s disappointing Game 7 performance on the latest episode of Showtime’s “Ticket & Truth” podcast.

“I watched the first two minutes of the release of the C’s [and thought] ‘I don’t like this energy! That’s not the energy to fight you! ”” Garnett said of how he watched the Celtics.

Garnett recalled how Pierce would ramp up his intensity before big games, saying there are “two types of P”. The more intense ‘P’ would be ‘get into the caucus and leave…’ Hey look, let’s go and send a message to these [expletive] here.'”

Garnett thinks that’s what the Celtics lacked in their Game 7 loss.

“That energy was like, ‘Aw [expletive], we gorilla tonight!’ They didn’t have that,” Garnett said.

Pierce felt the same way about how the Celtics played in this game. He thinks they should have done more to slow down Heat forward Caleb Martin, who scored 26 points on 11 of 16 shooting in Game 7 and averaged 19.3 points per game in the series.

“They should have put Martin on his ass a lot of times,” Pierce said. “He just kept going to the rack. He hit 3s. I would have said: ‘He goes to the ground’. I’ll send him to the baseline and put him on his ass. It’s supposed to fall. He’s supposed to take the hit.

From a basketball perspective, Garnett thinks the Celtics’ loss was their offense — specifically, their 3-point shot. They shot 30.3% from deep during the series and had their two worst 3-point shooting outings of the season in Games 6 and 7.

But it was the process of how they took those 3 points that Garnett had a problem with, not just that they didn’t go in.

“I thought the Cs were on the long ball too long,” Garnett said. “I think there wasn’t enough going to the basket. …3s open up by how you go to the hole and how aggressive you are. This drive and the kick [out]. I think they got away with it. Al Horford didn’t get many easy 3s or easy runs. Guys like that need those points.

Although they had issues with the way the Celtics played in Game 7 and in the series, Garnett and Pierce aren’t advocating any shakeup.

“It’s the process,” Garnett said. “You have to endure pain to have a good time.”

Pierce said the Celtics have a “championship slate” and should offer Brown an extension this offseason, believing he would be an “eternal All-Star.”

“These cats went to the finals,” Pierce said. “They were one game away from the final. You just have to take a deep breath and say, “Where can we improve? “It starts at the top. »

Both Garnett and Pierce think Joe Mazzulla is also the right person to be the Celtics head coach. But they have a familiar face in mind to join him on the team.

“You can’t keep bringing in new voices,” Pierce said. “I will add to what I have at the moment. …I have to add something. It’s already good ! I have to add more. It’s already there.

“So I’m bringing Mazzulla back but maybe bringing in a veteran coach, like Same Cassell. Some influence off the bench. Respect. A champion. Has been a coach. Understands what it takes.

Cassell had a brief stint with the Celtics during his playing career, playing with Garnett and Pierce en route to a title in 2008. He unofficially began his coaching career with the Celtics the following season when he was still on the active list.

After his tenure with the Celtics, Cassell served as assistant coach for the Wizards from 2009 to 2014. He also coached under Doc Rivers with the Clippers from 2014 to 2020 and with the Philadelphia 76ers for the past three seasons.

Garnett, who also played with Cassell for a few seasons with the Timberwolves, cited the former NBA All-Star’s ability to help young players, such as John Wall, Bradley Beal and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, grow as a good reason to add him to the staff.

But more importantly, Garnett believes it falls to Jayson Tatum and Brown to help lift the Celtics over the hump to win a title, believing Cassell could help bring out the best in them.

“When I watch them play, I think that was maturity,” Garnett said. “I think the next step for the C’s, at least for me, is maturation. You must have those influences in there. …

“I’m talking about developing a player now, these guys are top players. They’re first-team and second-team All-NBA players. Now it’s about improving these players. Not even your bench, I’m not talking about Rob Williams. I’m talking about Tatum and Brown. It’s time for them to take the next step.


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