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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wally Szczerbiak backtracks on criticism: Kevin Garnett proved me completely wrong

When Wally Szczerbiak took a shot at Kevin Garnett last week and tweeted about him not being a clutch player, many people chalked it up to jealousy and fired back at Szczerbiak by reminding him that Garnett is a Hall of Famer and Wally was nothing more than an above-average role player. As an NBA analyst, Wally simply thought he was doing his job in being objective. However, his reasoning was flawed. Give Szczerbiak credit for admitting he was wrong after Garnett’s dominating Game 5 performance against the Heat.

“In our profession, our job is to be objective,” Szczerbiak said during an interview with WEEI on Wednesday. “We put LeBron on blast for not having the clutch gene. Watching K.G. throughout his career, now with Boston, I just threw it out there that, hey, let’s keep an eye on K.G. at crunch time and see what he does at crunch time. Because in years past, when we were with Minnesota, we had guys like Sam Cassell that took the big shot. Now with Boston he has Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. And to K.G.’s credit, why wouldn’t you defer to those guys at the end of games? They’re big-shot-makers. Paul Pierce showed it again last night.

“Having said that, K.G. proved me completely wrong last night. (He) made two huge free throws down the stretch and made a big 15-footer. If I’m one of the naysayers that’s helping motivate K.G. play at this level, then maybe the Boston fans owe me a little thank you. Because he’s just playing off the charts.”

Garnett finished Game 5 with 26 points and 11 rebounds, and his stat line does his performance no justice. As Wally mentioned, he hit a big jumper down the stretch and two huge free throws to ice the game. He also came up with two momentum-shifting blocks when it appeared LeBron James was walking his way to the rim.

In terms of hitting the game-winning shot, I guess you could say Garnett “lacks the clutch gene.” With players like Ray Allen and Paul Pierce on his side, there are few situations where you’d want K.G. taking the final shot anyway. When it comes to locking a game down and doing what needs to be done at the end of the fourth quarter, Garnett’s influence exceeds anything that can be jotted down on a box score.

Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

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