While the Boston Celtics have struggled this season, one thing has remained the same and that is the aggressive and physical game of Kevin Garnett who has been named to 14 All-Star Games over his long career. The 36-year-old brings his heart and soul to every game and his physical nature at times has given him the label of a dirty player. During the 4th quarter of Friday nights’ 94-75 win over the Indiana Pacers, Garnet was ejected for smacking his forearm into the face of Pacers’ player Tyler Hansbrough. As reported by Boston.com after the game on Friday, Garnett said it was unintentional on his part.
“I came, I was firm, I didn’t mean to get him in the face like that,” said Garnett. “I was actually trying to wipe the ball. They called it what it was. It was a physical game. That’s what it was. Part of the game.”
Hansbrough felt the physical play with 8:24 left in the game with the Celtics holding a big lead was dirty although Garnett appeared to be immediately apologetic towards Hansbrough after the play happened.
Hansbrough commented after the game that the aggressive, “dirty” style is how Garnett “plays” and “definitely thought it was cheap”. Referee James Capers felt the same way and ruled it a flagrant-2 and tossed Garnett out of the game.
The timing of the play and the call didn’t cost the Celtics who went on to record their most impressive win of the year. It was good to see the team as a whole continuing to play hard despite a big lead and encouraging seeing the hustle and aggressive style defensively return and award Boston with winning results.
Kevin Garnett will be Kevin Garnett, a player who has had success over many years in the NBA and a player who led the Celtics to their 17th NBA title and was a part of returning a proud organization back to the glory days of winning.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers didn’t agree with the ejection but understood.
“Honestly,” he said. “It was so much crap going on at that point. I just think [Capers] has been around the game a long time. I think he was thinking, ‘I’m going to do Kevin a favor and get him out of here, because it was getting chippy.’”
Garnett is a player who isn’t going to back down and will stand up as a leader of his basketball team. That’s why coaches who have coached KG and players who have played with KG love and respect him.