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."
Patriots safety Duron Harmon joined the show on Monday to discuss their win over Pittsburgh in the AFCCG. Harmon was asked about his tackle on Jesse James on the half yard line, and he revealed to the guys he wasn't thinking much about it, but that the defense has wanted the chance to make a goal line stand since they did it against Cincinnati earlier in the season.
Patriots running back Dion Lewis joined the show to discuss how it feels to be headed to the Super Bowl for the first time in his career, his recovery from a serious injury in 2015, and how LeGarrette Blount fired up the sidelines by carrying half the Steelers on his back.
Glenn Ordway and Fred Smerlas talk with Cornerback Malcolm Butler in the lockerroom after the Patriots handily beat the Pittsburgh to advance to Super Bowl 51.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the 'Dale and Holley Show' talk about Isaiah Thomas' flagrant foul against the Heat, and also discuss why it's time for the Celtics to address their biggest need.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the "Dale and Holley Show" discuss the latest news on the injury that has kept Isaiah Thomas off the court and how valuable it is for Marcus Smart to stay in control.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of 'The Dale and Holley Show' talk about last night's disappointing finish against the Rockets and they talk about their love for DeMarcus Cousins.
Mut, Rob, and John are talking about some of the Hall of Fame candidates who gained or lost support within the last year. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds both gained support, while Curt Schilling lost a chunk of votes he had gotten last year.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are in after it was announced that Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. They also talk about some notable candidates who weren't elected this year like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.
Rob Bradford is joined by Jackie Bradley Jr. to discuss race in baseball and in Boston, along with the importance of Martin Luther King Day. The Red Sox outfielder also dives into how he never really felt comfortable in a major league clubhouse until last year, the approach he's taking heading into 2017, and why he's not playing in the World Baseball Classic.
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.
Ken, Rear and Ty talk all things Bruins as they come off a 4-0 shutout win in Florida and head to Carolina later today. Did that victory save Claude's job? The boys get into Don Sweeney's recent comments on Claude's job and what the future holds for the black and gold.
Hour 4. Kirk and Gerry discuss how players from bad teams can come to New England and win.
Hour 2. Albert challenges Kirk and Gerry. Headlines with Kirk covers the Women's March.
Tim Hasselbeck joins the show.
The guys open the show discussing the Patriots 36-17 win over Steelers in the AFCCG, and if that win helped answer some questions the critics had all year about the Patriots defense.
Last week, there was a lot of talk about Aaron Rodgers and his other-worldly performances down the stretch and into the playoffs. On Sunday, he was blown out by the Falcons, and sent home packing. The guys discuss the rise and fall of Aaron Rodgers' season, and also get into the Falcons offense, and how the Patriots defense might stack up.
Chris Hogan, Dion Lewis, Kyle Van Noy, and Trey Flowers are just a few of the reasons why Bill Belichick should be credited more as a great GM, in addition to his accolades as a great head coach.
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe spend the day discussing the AFC Championship.
We close out the work week with the best sound clips of the day.
We check in with hall of famer Michael Irvin to find out what happened to his Dallas Cowboys and look at the remaining playoff match-ups.
Kirk Minihane brings Chad Finn back to the show to talk about the Charlotte Wilder story about the relationship between the Pats and Trump. Chad defends Charlotte for some of the story and her previous articles, Kirk still has problems with what he thinks is lazy reporting. Kirk and Chad also talk about whether a third sports station in Boston would be viable and if Curt Schilling will ever make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Kirk Minihane has a loud and very confrontational argument with media personality John Ziegler about the guilt or innocence of Jerry Sandusky. Kirk believes him to be guilty, John believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sandusky is innocent. Yes, it may be an old case, but you all remember it and this episode may change your mind about some of the things you previously thought with regards to Penn State, Jerry Sandusky, and Joe Paterno.
Kirk Minihane wants to sit down with both sports editors at the major newspapers in Boston. Only Boston Herald sports editor Sean Leahy took Kirk up on the invitation to join the show. What you will hear is a great conversation between two people who are very interested in the newspaper business and how that business has changed over the years and what the future holds for newspapers. Kirk and Sean talk about the ongoing and longstanding rivalry between the Herald and Globe.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap a Patriots Monday after a Patriots AFC Title game win and a Tom Brady appearance with Kirk & Gerry.
Uncle Buck, George from S**t Pats Fans Say, and Jerry Thornton talk about the Patriots history in the AFC Championship game, the big wins, the bad losses, and what it will take for the Pats to win another AFC Championship game.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis wrap up the K&C week after a Friday show with Kirk, Mut and Ben Volin in studio.
Tom Brady joins the show the morning after winning the AFC championship for the seventh time. Brady talks about the upcoming Super Bowl and his call to President Donald Trump.More from this show
Hour 1. The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl, which means Kirk and Gerry are going to Houston. Tom Brady joins the show.More from this show
Hour 2. Albert challenges Kirk and Gerry. Headlines with Kirk covers the Women's March.More from this show
Hour 4. Bill Belichick holds his Friday press conference while Mut and Kirk try and play a game. Mut has a big announcement. Gerry calls in from the Inauguration on his crystal-clear cell phone.More from this show