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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Celtics’ Garnett keeping tabs on his young Jedis

Glen Davis had something new to show to his old teacher Sunday night with a pair of up-fake layups that actually caught Kevin Garnett in mid-air.

And though it didn’t appear that Garnett’s words for the new Orlando co-captain were of a mentoring nature, what the Celtics center had to say after Sunday night’s 116-110 overtime win over Orlando left no doubt. ...

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Glen Davis had something new to show to his old teacher Sunday night with a pair of up-fake layups that actually caught Kevin Garnett in mid-air.

And though it didn’t appear that Garnett’s words for the new Orlando co-captain were of a mentoring nature, what the Celtics center had to say after Sunday night’s 116-110 overtime win over Orlando left no doubt.

Garnett has played against two former teammates in the last two games – Davis and Oklahoma City’s Kendrick Perkins. He was in a reflective mood.

“Absolutely,” Garnett said of whether Davis has grown. “I talk to Baby every week and a half, every two weeks. We go back and forth. I talk to him and Perk a lot. They’re still my young guys. I still consider them the young Skywalkers, so to speak. Those are my young Jedis.

“They’re in new places, new identities, same work ethic, new personnel, same responsibility. I tell them that this is growth, and when you’re in a young environment and a new organization where they’re expecting things out of a winner, you have to bring that. And that’s the consistency of being a professional.

“You can’t pick and choose where you want to be,” Garnett said. “It’s a way of life. I like to
promote that and preach that to them. It’s important for them to understand that. I don’t think they have a lot of vets where they’re at, and especially Baby. He’s in a new situation. There’s going to be frustrating moments, but like I tell him, you don’t get a day off. You have to be the example, and it’s not about what you say but what you do.”

Garnett added one last bit of knowledge to his former proteges.

“There are going to be days when you don’t feel like doing it, but you have to do it anyway,” he said. “Days when you’re having a trashy day because of family and every other kind of distraction, you have to put it to the side, come in here and do your job.

“I like to be in their ears. Those guys trust me. Those are my young brothers, man. Though we have to play each other, the relationship is something we’ll always have.”

Now second best

Rajon Rondo tied John Stockton for the second-longest double-figure assist streak in NBA history, with Sunday night’s 16-assist performance giving him 37 straight. He can pass Stockton on Wednesday night at the Garden against the Brooklyn Nets. Magic Johnson is nine games ahead with the longest streak of all time.

All concerned are trying hard not to pay attention.

“Guys are making shots,” Rondo said with his standard answer.

Coach Doc Rivers was downright oblivious to the moment.

“To be honest, I thought he had already passed (Stockton),” Rivers said. “That shows how much I’m paying attention to it. But if (Rondo) plays the right way on this team, he should have 10 assists every night.”

Old Jayhawks

In another age, Paul Pierce and Jacque Vaughn were teammates at the University of Kansas. In yet another age, Vaughn played for Rivers in Orlando in 2002-03.

Vaughn, a first-year NBA head coach, has been influenced by both men. He’s impressed, in particular, by Pierce’s ability at the age of 35, to function at a high level.

“He’s a Hall of Famer, and I smile when I say that about him,” the Magic coach said.

“I’ve known Paul a long time, I’m proud of his career, and to see he’s still doing it at a high level. I’ll tell him that when I see him tonight. He’s a Hall of Famer, and that’s a heck of a statement.”

Rivers had another kind of influence.

“Doc was an unbelievable motivator,” he said. “He had some anecdote or story – something to give you and get you ready for a game. You felt his competition level for a game. He had a really good way of communicating with guys.”