Kevin McHale said Friday that his former pupil with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kevin Garnett, will reach the 25,000-point mark as a “pass-first’’ player. The Celtics’ Garnett entered Monday night’s game against Charlotte just 198 points from being the 16th NBA player to reach that mark and he admitted that he always has been a reluctant scorer.
“I guess when you’re in the league as long as I’ve been in it you are going to accomplish some things,” he said before the game. “I guess some day it will mean something to me. At this point, it’s relative. I’m sorry, I’m not into the individual stuff. Obviously I’ve accomplished some things.”
Garnett ended up with just 7 points on 2-of-11 shooting in Boston’s 100-89 win over the Bobcats at TD Garden.
Garnett said because he grew up a fan of Magic Johnson he ended up handling the ball more than spending time in the post.
“I really wasn’t into the points because of the majority of the people around me wanted to score the ball,” he said. “I’ve always taken a liking to try to do everything, to be good at everything. [Scoring] was something I had to do. If you’re the biggest kid you have to, so I had to get off all the passing the ball, stealing the ball, blocking the ball. How about score the ball?
“At some point I had to fall in line with the team. Some things in this game became natural other than that; scoring was just kind of pushed on me.”
Garnett said his ball-handling skills, something that has been a strength since he entered the league at 19, were learned as a teenager.
“I wasn’t always tall growing up, but I was bigger than some of the other kids,” he said. “Naturally handling the ball, I would get up in the morning and dribble, and as I got older I would continue to keep that skill with me. Dribbling used to do something for my mind for some reason. I would get lost in dribbling. Some people would read a book, I would get lost in dribbling.”
Wilcox sits out
Chris Wilcox participated in his first practice Sunday since spraining the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb. He suited up for Monday night’s game but did not see any action.
Coach Doc Rivers said he hopes to have his reserve center back by this week.
“Maybe even by next game he’ll be in uniform where he could play,” Rivers said. “But we’re in no rush with that. We’re just going to make sure he feels good. He practiced and he wants to have a couple of more practices. If Chris was ready, he’d be playing, but I don’t know if he would play right away because I like the group that’s playing in front of him.
“But it would be nice having him back.”
Security for Adrien
Jan. 10 was a special day for Bobcats forward Jeff Adrien. His contract was guaranteed for the season by the club, giving him the first sense of security in his NBA career. Adrien, the former Brookline High School standout, has been waived several times since leaving UConn, most recently by the Rockets in training camp.
Adrien entered Monday’s game having played in 10 games since signing with Charlotte Dec. 9, averaging 2.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in about 11 minutes per contest. He has turned down opportunities to play overseas for the chance to catch on with an NBA team, and the experience, he said, has been rewarding.
“It’s a good feeling not to keep looking back down my shoulder,” Adrien said. “It’s been a while since that’s happened. It feels good. I’m thankful, blessed. That’s all I can ask for.”
Adrien has been a welcome addition to a younger Charlotte team, adding a rugged rebounder and physical presence in the paint.
“He brings a Reggie Evans type to our group,” Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap said. “He’s got energy. He gets his nose in on everything. He’s a take-no-prisoners type of player. I think Boston, their culture is like that. They got guys like [Jared] Sullinger. They go and get those guys year in and year out.
“San Antonio gets long wings who can shoot. Everybody has their trademark, but what we try to do when we look at a team like Boston is say ‘OK, what is Garnett providing.’ ”
Dunlap then relayed a story he said he was told by a Raptors clubhouse attendant.
“He said, ‘Well one time Boston came up in here and lost and Garnett chucked a table in the locker room postgame,’ ” Dunlap said. “That’s kind of what I’m trying to promote with Jeff.”
Return to form
Fab Melo is returning to form after missing two weeks with a concussion. In NBADL Maine’s 116-107 win over Springfield Saturday, he scored 12 points with 8 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. Melo is the league leader in blocks with 3.6 per game . . . The Bobcats were without center Byron Mullens, who missed his 10th consecutive game with a left ankle sprain . . . Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson was called for a flagrant-1 foul on Garnett with 5:48 left in the second quarter. Garnett responded by charging Henderson and pointing his finger at him, but they were separated.Gary Washburn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter at @gwashNBAGlobe