After Game 1, Pau had this to say about Garnett:
“On Kevin’s part he’s also lost some explosiveness. He’s more of a jump shooter now, you could say. Comes off the lane. Before, he had a really, really quick first step and was getting to the lane and he was more aggressive then. Time passes, and we all suffer it one way or another, but he’s still a terrific player, a terrific competitor, and he’s going to bring everything he’s got. You can count on that.”
As one of my favorite beat writers, Kevin Ding of the OC Register, noted, “It’s an unfortunate aspect of this business that reporters want athletes to say interesting things, and then anything that is interesting will be eagerly tried and used against them.”
While it’s a quote that carries a lot of truth and really can’t be construed as smack-talk, just somebody leveling their honest opinion (with some empirical evidence to back it up), it’s something that won’t sit well with Kevin Garnett. As I said earlier, old warriors with big egos don’t go quietly into the night. And Garnett could be a snake that feels like it’s been pushed into a corner. And that’s when they’re at their most dangerous.
Whether he intended to or not, Gasol has undoubtedly stirred an old dog that may need something like this to fully get him going again at this point in his career. Gasol has come to the cross-roads of his career. With the decline of Tim Duncan, and KG standing, literally, on his last leg, Pau Gasol can take the title of “Best Power Forward in the Game” from them with a dominant series.
If Garnett could some how rally the team around him, somehow get the reigns around Gasol, and capture his 2nd title in three years? Well, he certainly will have a valid argument for best Power Forward of his generation.
Both players, I’m sure, are aware of the stakes.
NEXT: Cementing their legacies…