Superstars need to have a code of ethics, systematic rules for playing that allow them to succeed and dial up their level of production when necessary. In Garnett's case, that demands he treat his offensive game like a late-night courtship.
"I want it to be that when I dial it up, I want her to pick the phone up," Garnett told reporters, per the New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy, after going off in the fourth quarter of the Brooklyn Nets' victory over the Golden State Warriors. "Tonight, I dialed and she was right there, answering like she’s supposed to."
She most certainly was.
The 37-year-old carried Brooklyn in the fourth quarter, amassing 11 points in eight minutes. He also blocked a shot and forced a crucial turnover with 12.8 seconds remaining.
"Tonight, offensively, he looked like he was 21," Nets coach Jason Kidd said.
That's not something Kidd, or anyone for that matter, has been able to say about Garnett, who is averaging 6.5 points on 37.9 percent shooting in 21.8 minutes per game, all of which are career lows.
Frustrated by his struggles, Garnett admitted he was lost within Brooklyn's system entering the New Year:
Kevin Garnett said he has no rhythm and he doesn't know where he fits into the offense.— Stefan Bondy (@NYDNInterNets) January 1, 2014
Against the Warriors, he wasn't wandering somewhere between confusion and age-imposed regression. He looked good. Confident. Comfortable.
Like he belonged.
Entering the fourth quarter, it wasn't a particularly dominant performance. Not long ago, 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting to go along with four steals and a block wouldn't have even been anything to laud.
But the way this season's going for Brooklyn, and the way Garnett has been playing, it's cause for celebration.
"They came out and gave us a big blow in the first quarter," Garnett explained afterward, per the Associated Press (via ESPN). "I thought we kept our composure and then fought back."
Age has been bearing down on Garnett all season. Physical limits have hindered his production, his value. Father Time has turned the once-smoldering performer into a fraction of the player he used to be.
But for one night, Garnett fought back. And won.
Late-night hookups have never been more rewarding.