CBS Sports basketball analyst Wally Szczerbiak joined Dennis & Callahan Wednesday morning and admitted he's been proven wrong for writing earlier in the Eastern Conference finals that Kevin Garnett is not a clutch player.
Szczerbiak, a one-time Celtics swingman who had a frosty relationship with Garnett when the two were teammates on the Timberwolves for 6 1/2 seasons, tweeted during the Celtics' Game 2 loss in Miami that Garnett lacked the "clutch gene and always has." Garnett since has been a force in helping the C's win three straight.
"Like he said in his interview last night, it's incredible what he's doing right now at his age," Szczerbiak said. "It is a credit to his craft, how professional he is. … He's playing the best basketball quite possibly I've ever seen him play, at the biggest moments. It's just incredible.
"The reason why I put the tweet out there about the clutch gene is to be objective," Szczerbiak continued. "In our profession, our job is to be objective. We put LeBron on blast for not having the clutch gene. Watching KG throughout his career, now with Boston, I just threw it out there that, hey, let's keep an eye on KG at crunch time and see what he does at crunch time. Because in years past, when we were with Minnesota, we had guys like Sam Cassell that took the big shot. Now with Boston he has Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. And to KG's credit, why wouldn't you defer to those guys at the end of games? They're big-shot-makers. Paul Pierce showed it again last night.
"Having said that, KG proved me completely wrong last night. [He] made two huge free throws down the stretch and made a big 15-footer. If I'm one of the naysayers that's helping motivate KG play at this level, then maybe the Boston fans owe me a little thank you. Because he's just playing off the charts."
Szczerbiak said there was a specific incident early in his career that marred his relationship with Garnett. He wouldn't reveal what it was, but he insisted, "We've gotten over it."
"We learned to get along very amicably," Szczerbiak said. "We had seven great years. He was a phenomenal teammate. He took me as a player to extraordinary heights. He helped me make the All-Star team, helped us make the playoffs every single year, we made the Western Conference finals. Unfortunately, as a team, we couldn't achieve that ultimate goal, which was an NBA championship. He's achieved it in Boston with other great players around him, great coaches, great organization. Credit to him."
On the other side of the floor, LeBron James continues to struggle in the clutch. Szczerbiak said something has changed since he played alongside James in Cleveland for a year and a half.
"When I first got traded to the Cavs [in 2008], my first conversation with [then-coach] Mike Brown was, 'Wally, our job is to just get the game into the fourth quarter, give the ball to LeBron in the last five minutes and he'll win it every single time.' And he did," Szczerbiak said. "We knew where the ball was going, we knew he was going to come through for us. Ever since, though, he's gotten to Miami, he's been totally different I think at the end of games. I think it was evident in Game 4 in Boston. I thought he made a horrible decision at the end of the game, not even getting a shot up, allowing the defense to dictate what he was going to do with the ball on the last possession and not attacking the defense and making the defense react to him. And then last night, he was deferring to Wade. … He has not been the same player that I remember playing with in Cleveland in Miami in those clutch situations."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On Doc Rivers: "He's the best coach I've ever played for. He just knows, he gets it. He knows what's going through the mind of a player. He knows how to get a player into a rhythm, how to get him going, how to get him the ball in his sweet spot where he can make a play, where he can make a shot. And then he can start playing better defense. He's done a great job for the Celtics."
On Heat coach Erik Spoelstra: "Erik Spoelstra's going to have to answer a lot of questions, let me tell you. Just what they run at the end of games. I look at Doc Rivers, he runs a cross screen in the last two minutes for KG to get him the ball five feet from the basket with a smaller guy on his back. It just seems like Erik Spoelstra makes [Dwyane] Wade and James beat the Celtics 1-on-5 from the top of the key or halfcourt. I don't see any getting the guys in a good position where they can score, getting the guys the ball with an advantage to score."
On Thursday's Game 6: "It's so tough to win on the road. What Boston did last night was a big-time win. To go in there in a pressure situation, a pressure game, and get that victory was just big. Now, all the pressure swings to the Celtics. They have to come out, they have to defend home court. They're going to get Miami's best effort. Miami's got a lot of pride in that locker room and they have some great players in that locker room. And they have Chris Bosh getting healthy. … Right now Boston's a team, and right now Miami's a little bit fragile."
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Gabe calls the boys to handicap one of the biggest gambling days of the year - Super Bowl 51! Gabe has all the point spread info down and gets to all of the major prop bets that interest him.
Fauria is still down in Houston and calls live from NRG Stadium to give his take on what will go down later on in Super Bowl 51. He likes the Pats and gives his reasons why, but also gets into the scene in Houston all week, famous people he met and why he is tired out from a wild week.
The NBA trade rumor mill is beginning to swirl as the deadline approaches and Picard is ready to go! He talks about the possibility of Jimmy Butler coming to Boston, why Isaiah Thomas is not getting enough respect and the future of the Celtics.
Adrian Wojnarowski has been talking about the possibility of the Celtics making a trade with the Bulls to bring Jimmy Butler to Boston. He actually thinks it may be the the marquee deal to keep an eye on this week heading into the trade deadline. Pete and Jerry discuss and give their thoughts on if they would want Butler. Pete thinks it will happen, Jerry thinks Ainge will stay put. The guys get into more Celtics, present and future and if they can battle with the best of the NBA.
Anna Horford, sister of Boston Celtics Al Horford, makes her Boston radio debut. She talks about Twitter and reacting to mean tweets about her brother. She also gives us her thoughts on the city of Boston and racism.
Rob Bradford is joined by Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia to discuss the 33-year-old's longevity, his thoughts on Tom Brady's approach and what the real deal is when it comes to who is the leader in the Red Sox' clubhouse.
Rob Bradford talks with both Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes, and assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister, about the fascinating project the reliever undertook in the final month of 2016. Barnes explains how he, with the help of others, made a concerted effort to emulate Dellin Betances of the Yankees and how that exercise helped turn around the former No. 1 pick's season.
Bradford checks in from spring training to give us all the media dirt he can dig up...oh, and talk some baseball too.
Guys talk the Bruins season so far and the All-Star Break
Guys discuss if or when the Bruins will fire Coach Julian
Ken, Rear and Ty get into a very solid week for the B's beating St Louis and the Flyers and losing a hard-fought game against the Predators. Is this team turning things around? Krug and Marchand are kicking things up a notch. The guys also talk about Claude and Sweeney's job security before getting into some big hits around the league this week.
Hour 4. Mack Beggs should have been wrestling men. Gerry wants to put an end to women's wrestling.
Hour 3. Moonlight wins after a big mistake. Curtis's dad paid for his dog's plane ticket.
Hour 1. Reimer joins Kirk and Gerry on the Monday after the Oscars. A mistake leads to the best moment in Oscars' history.
The deadline for NFL team's to use the franchise tag is Wednesday, and the guys discuss the future of Jimmy Garoppolo and Dont'a Hightower.
Andrew Benintendi is one of the favorites to win the AL Rookie of the Year award, despite playing in 35 games last year.
Glenn, Lou and Christian recap the Celtics weekend and continue to lament the fact that Danny didn't get someone to help out on the boards.
Dale and MIchael discuss Mo Sanu playing the blame game for the Super Bowl loss, plus other Super Bowl related topics... for instance, will the Falcons EVER get over that loss?
Dale and Michael discuss the interest out there for Jimmy G, and whether the Patriots will move on from him.
Dale and Michael spend a good portion of the program discussing the Bruins. What are there chances going forward and what do they need to add?
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be. You will not find a better look behind the scenes of radio.
Kirk sits down with the legend Glenn Ordway to talk about when Glenn got fired here at WEEI, his start with the station, the controversial decisions he made when he was the Program Director, and he relationship with Eddie Andelman.
Kirk chats with David Duchovny about his current music tour, which takes him to the Wilbur on February 22nd, how David got his start in television, from his first stint on Red Shoe Diaries, becoming a superstar on the X-Files, and his hilarious appearances on the Larry Sanders Show. This is a fascinating discussion about show business and controlling your own career.
Ben, Russ, and Alex talk about the decision by the Leicester City to dismiss Claudio Ranieri just months after winning the Premier League and if Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez will sign with the MLS this summer?
Christian and Dr Gill talk about how baseball players need to stay in shape in the offseason, continuing maintenance during the season, and how Pablo Sandoval's health could be after missing nearly an entire season.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap a K&C Monday with Alex Reimer joining the guys for a post-Oscar themed show
Hour 1. Reimer joins Kirk and Gerry on the Monday after the Oscars. A mistake leads to the best moment in Oscars' history.More from this show
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be. You will not find a better look behind the scenes of radio.More from this show
Hour 3. Moonlight wins after a big mistake. Curtis's dad paid for his dog's plane ticket.More from this show
Dino reunites with the guys at spring training.More from this show
Hour 2. Mack Beggs, a transgender boy, won the girls' wrestling title. Headlines with Kirk.More from this show