Garnett faces ex-teammates
October 11, 2007
LONDON — A preseason NBA contest between the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves probably didn’t seem like much of a matchup to hard-core hoops fans when it was announced for London’s O2 Arena earlier this year.
But a massive offseason trade sent perennial All-Star forward Kevin Garnett from the Timberwolves to the Celtics for a slew of young talent, including forward Al Jefferson, adding a lot more intrigue to Wednesday’s game.
While Garnett had proclaimed his loyalties to the Timberwolves over the years, he said Tuesday that things were going well since he donned Celtic green.
“We’re making the steps,” Garnett said of meshing with his new team. “Every day is a process, but every day is also fun.”
Veteran guard Ray Allen also came over to the Celtics in the offseason, joining Garnett and longtime Celtic all-star Paul Pierce to form a team that is likely to contend in the wide-open Eastern Conference.
But Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman said Tuesday that if his young players — eight of them are younger than 25 — play hard, the “underdog” definition being placed on his squad won’t necessarily stick.
“People are going to portray us that way,” he said. “I don’t want [the players] to believe we’re going to be the underdogs.”
Second-year Timberwolves forward Craig Smith said he is optimistic about the season and not concerned about the average age of his teammates.
“Young is always an excuse,” Smith said. “I’m feeling good about this season.”