Say what you will about the nearly 38-year-old Kevin Garnett, but he's not a man in denial.
He knows as well as anyone that his current contributions to the Nets just aren't cutting it and expressed as much after Brookyn's 92-84 Game 2 loss to the Miami Heat, according to Newsday's Roderick Boone: "I'm not happy with my play right now. I'm trying to get in a flow and a rhythm. Try to bring something. It's just frustrating. But I'll grind through it."
The frustration is shared by anyone rooting for the Nets.
Garnett averaged just 8.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in Brooklyn's first-round series against the Toronto Raptors. He was held scoreless in Game 1 against the Miami Heat and to just four points in Game 2. The lone highlight so far in this series is that he grabbed 12 rebounds on Thursday night.
As CBSSports.com's James Herbert put it, "It hasn't been fun watching Kevin Garnett in the playoffs. He had a few brief moments of defensive brilliance against the Toronto Raptors in the first round, but by and large he has not been able to affect games in anything resembling the way he has in the past."
To some degree, KG's decreased production simply has to do with the role he's taken on with the Nets. He's no longer a go-to scorer, and his minutes rarely rise above much more than 20 per contest. Brooklyn's preference for small-ball has made it difficult to ensure Garnett remains on the floor for long stretches.
By all accounts, Garnett understands that. He conceded that he's willing to do whatever it takes for the Nets to win games prior to Game 2:
Listen, coming here I knew that I was going to have to, I knew my scoring was going to be subjective. I knew I was giving up things coming here. I understand that. I’m not going to be a distraction or complaining about things that I kind of anticipated...Whatever [Nets coach Jason Kidd] needs me to be on this team, I’ve tried to be and will continue try to be. I’m not going to come off and be a distraction at this point. I understand my job and go out there and do it to the best of my ability. If I have a chance to be aggressive, I’ll take those chances. If not, do what I can, do the things that I know I can.
Garnett's attitude is admirable, but it's hard to argue he's not underperforming to some degree.
The Nets will need him to make the most of his minutes against the Heat. He's the club's best option to defend Chris Bosh. And if there's any knock on Miami's roster, it's that its interior rotation isn't all that great. In theory, Garnett could exploit that.
So far he hasn't.
Though Brooklyn doesn't want Garnett to start pressing, it needs him to be aggressive. The Nets need all hands on deck to make a dent in the Miami machine.
Perhaps a return home will help Garnett's cause. Brooklyn hosts the Heat for Game 3 on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Nets currently trail the Heat two games to zip.