When the Celtics fall into an early playoff hole, the lament is almost always the same: A call goes out to reinvolve Kevin Garnett offensively.

That’s why Garnett’s secondary role during Saturday’s Game 1 loss to the Knicks won’t be allowed to continue. Look for the Celtics to get their center involved immediately tonight.

But that’s not just a job for his teammates. There’s more Garnett can do as well to work himself free.

“He could have got himself in better spots, but that’s again on us, too,” Doc Rivers said before yesterday’s practice. “It’s never one thing. It’s both. We have to create (shots) for him. Kevin can’t dribble and pass to himself. They’re still very good defensively. They still trap. Even when you get him deep, they’re still coming.”

In those situations, though, the Celtics have to remain diligent. They can’t afford for Garnett to become an afterthought two games in a row.

“The same way we’ve been doing it all year long,” Paul Pierce said. “We try to establish him early and I don’t think we did that the last game. At the start of the game we try to get him the ball. He’s the guy we try to get going in our first four or five possessions, whether he’s shooting the ball or making a play.

“Establish him early. Because we get off to a good offensive rhythm when he’s touching the ball and moving it. That’s what we have to do if we don’t want to struggle early in the offensive end. We also have to do that early in the fourth quarter.”