Kevin Garnett shreds narrative about Celtics’ path to NBA Finals


“People want all this heartfelt drama and going seven games. Nah, that ain’t the script here.”

Kevin Garnett is not a fan of the narrative surrounding the Celtics’ road to the NBA Finals. Matthew J. Lee / The Boston Globe

Kevin Garnett has never shied away from speaking his mind, be it on the court or now in his post-playing career.

The Celtics legend and NBA Hall of Famer is not holding back when it comes to one prevailing narrative hovering over the 2023-24 Boston Celtics.

Boston has taken care of business on the road to a NBA Finals berth for the second time in three seasons, sporting a 12-2 record this postseason, but that hasn’t stopped several media pundits and outlets from harping on the breaks that have fallen the Celtics’ way during this run. 

Over their three series victories over the Heat (46 wins), Cavaliers (48 wins), and Pacers (47 wins), the Celtics did benefit from several key opponents sitting out due to injury, including Jimmy Butler (Heat), Donovan Mitchell (Cavaliers), Jarrett Allen (Cavaliers), and Tyrese Haliburton (Pacers).

Of course, the top-seeded Celtics also dominated the Eastern Conference without the help of Kristaps Porzingis — who has missed the last 10 games after suffering a calf strain in Game 4 against the Heat.

But Boston’s path this postseason has been a regular talking point over the last week when it comes to the Celtics’ viability as an elite championship squad.

Such discourse doesn’t sit right with Garnett, who ripped the narrative during the latest episode of the “Ticket & The Truth” podcast alongside fellow Celtics great Paul Pierce. 

“I think people want this big-ass (expletive) drama or something because all of the other series have been like this,” Garnett said. “‘Oh, when LeBron (James) made it and when Kobe (Bryant) did this and Michael Jordan.’ Listen, man. Their path is their path. First off, it’s not on the Celtics that guys are getting hurt, not playing, falling out of the lineup, etc. There are still other professionals coming in, playing hard as (expletive) and still trying to win. And to close out a game on the road? Man, I don’t know what people want.”

While Boston’s run so far hasn’t particularly been rife with drama, the Celtics have still gutted their way through several close games and orchestrated multiple comeback wins, especially during a competitive four-game sweep against the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals. 

“People want all this heartfelt drama and going seven games,” Garnett said. “Nah, that ain’t the script here. Their script — they’re damn near 16 games better than anybody in the East, they steamrolled through your team and it is what it is. And then, too, they’re down 18 on the road.

“They think you can just hit a button and all of a sudden you’re tied. No, man. You have to go win on the road and it’s hard as (expletive) to go win on the road and it’s even more hard to close out a team. But for all this other (expletive) they can’t control and that’s out of their control — get the (expletive) out of here with that. This is what it is.”

Garnett isn’t the only one to defend the Celtics and their competition so far this postseason, with Warriors forward Draymond Green pushing back against talk that Boston hasn’t been tested last week on his own podcast. 

“[Critics say] they haven’t been battle-tested and all of that,” Green said. “Whether they get to these NBA Finals and win or lose will not be because they haven’t been battle-tested, let me tell you that. You don’t get to the NBA Finals and some point throughout the year haven’t been battle-tested — don’t happen, won’t happen, ain’t happening this time.”

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