Kevin Garnett is probably the best passing big man in the NBA. So if anybody is deserving of a pass it is KG.
The Celtics forward will be under the microscope tonight because he laid an egg with the Celtics minutes from winning their 17th world championship.
You name it, he blew it late Tuesday night.
Scoring? 13 points.
Big plays? Don't remember any ... accept by Pau Gasol, who KG was covering.
Fouls? Too many to mention.
Free throw shooting? He had two different opportunities to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, missing one free throw with 3:54 remaining and he badly missed two more, with the score 95-93, with just 2:43 left.
Missed opportunities? One. With 30 seconds remaining and the Celts trailing 99-95, his tip of a Ray Allen missed layup hit the back of the rim and bounced out. Why he didn't dunk the ball, nobody knows.
Second worst offense? He played only 17 seconds in the second quarter after picking up his third foul, a dumb reach-in foul on a bad shot by Gasol.
Worst offense? He stunk.
Garnett is lucky. He is lucky the above questions come as the Celtics prepare for Game 6 tonight at the TD Banknorth Garden.
A hot seat couldn't be hotter than the one he would be sitting on if he performed that way and the Celtics trailed 3-2.
He would be deemed a "choker," probably the second worst moniker for a professional athlete other than "lazy."
While a sure Hall-of-Famer, he has never been confused with a clutch player. He has rarely been the go-to player during crunch time. The biggest indictment against him may be that in the 12 years previous to this season, his Timberwolves only made it past the opening round once.
But the facts are this: The Celtics are one win away from a world championship with two chances to win it all in Boston, and Garnett is a big reason why.
Other than Paul Pierce, who has gone through more ups and downs here than the roller-coaster at Canobie Lake Park, no Celtic deserves the title more than Garnett.
I don't think I've been around an athlete who cares more about winning than Garnett.
"I learned how to practice just being around him," said injured Celtics center Kendrick Perkins. "He taught me how to approach this game like a professional."
Lost in Pierce's MVP run has been Garnett's consistency. For two months — can you believe the playoffs started on April 20? — Garnett has averaged 20.2 points and 10.4 rebounds. In the five games against the Lakers, he has averaged 16.6 points and 12.8 rebounds.
Tuesday night was a clunker. Garnett had another description for that night.
"It was trash. I played like garbage (Tuesday night)," he said. "I can do better and I will."
I believe him. So should you.
Tuesday night the Celtics made believe Game 5 was Game 7. The problem was nobody bought it. The Celtics clawed their way back despite Garnett bringing his "D-game." In the end, they just ran out of gas.
Tonight will be different.
The Celtics are defending not only their home court, but their honor. They — and everybody else — know the Celtics are better than the Lakers. Letting them hang around Boston two more days might have the Lakers thinking they are as good as the Celtics.
Don't count on it. Tonight is Garnett's night.
E-mail Bill Burt at email@example.com. You can also check out his blog, "Burt Talks Sports," at blogs.eagletribune.com/sports.