Kevin Garnett Was More Intense Than Ever During The Timberwolves’ Dramatic Win Over The Hawks

Kevin Garnett checked out of Monday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks with 5:48 left in the third quarter and the Minnesota Timberwolves leading 87-64. He never returned. And as the future Hall of Famer watched his young teammates fumble away an advantage that had once reached 34 points, it should have been easy for him to lose sight of what matters most.

Garnett, though, isn’t like other late thirtysomethings whose once dominant careers have reached their last legs. He’s been a team player first and foremost throughout his two-decade tenure in the NBA and remains as much today, a heartwarming reality that was on full display late in the Timberwolves’ 117-107 win over the Hawks.

After Andrew Wiggins willed Minnesota back from a startling one-point deficit to a comfortable lead with the fourth quarter game clock ticking below 30 seconds, Garnett stood up from the bench and watched his team try to get an essentially game-deciding stop. Following an offensive rebound by Atlanta, Dennis Schröder erred on a three-point attempt and Karl-Anthony Towns leapt for the rebound to end the Hawks’ hopes of a victory.

That’s when the ‘Wolves 39-year-old franchise legend went absolutely nuts.

And as his rookie protege meandered the other way to attempt basically meaningless free throws, Garnett’s intensity somehow seemed to amplify.

Flip Saunders brought the 2008 champion back to Minnesota at least season’s trade deadline in part to show the team’s young players what it takes to be great. And as Wiggins and Towns led the Timberwolves to dramatic victory on the road against an elite team, it was easy to imagine Minny’s late, great coach smiling something big.

Not only due to Saunders’ pair of No. 1 picks playing like superstars, either, but also because a fully engaged Garnett was there to help make it happen – just as he always envisioned.