Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics fired the first major blow in the NBA playoffs, but it’s not the kind of big blow the Celtics had in mind.
The Celtics defeated the Heat, 85-76, in Game 1 of their first-round series, but it came with a heavy cost as Boston won’t have one of its star players for Game 2.
With 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Celtics ahead 81-75, Garnett and Heat guard Quentin Richardson got into an altercation near the Miami bench and several players got into a yelling match, which turned into a giant shoving match. As Garnett was trying to escape the brewing melee, he threw an elbow to Richardson’s jaw which drew a technical foul and an ejection from the game.
The NBA law clearly states that any punch or elbow that is thrown and connects will draw an automatic one-game suspension. Based on the video evidence, the NBA suspended Garnett for one game.
“It is what it is. You make your bed and you gotta lay it in. I gotta be smarter than that. Composure is everything in the playoffs. I gotta have better composure next time,” Garnett said during the postgame news conference.
Game 2 is scheduled for Tuesday, April 20, at TD Banknorth Garden.
“I saw Paul hurt his shoulder, and I was trying to give him some room and I saw Q standing over him talking nonsense. Before you know it, mayhem started. I thought Q showed a bit of disrespect by standing over [Pierce],” Garnett explained.
Garnett claimed that he didn’t remember throwing the elbow at Richardson, and he said all he was doing was making sure his teammate, Pierce, was OK after he saw him laying on the floor in pain.
“I don’t even remember elbowing anybody, I just remember guys were grabbing me,” Garnett said. “I saw Jamal Magloire grab me and, you know, me and D-Wade was talking. Next thing I know, Doc was yelling at me.”
Garnett said Pierce and Richardson have somewhat of a history, dating back to the days when Richardson was with the New York Knicks. Richardson, who once criticized the Celtics for talking too much trash, got tangled up with Pierce near sideline that resulted in Pierce suffering a stinger on his right shoulder.
Forward Glenn Davis will probably take Garnett’s place in the starting lineup.