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Celtics forward Kevin Garnett has been suspended by the NBA for Game 2 of Boston’s opening round matchup against the Miami Heat after altercations with Miami forward Quentin Richardson. The event occurred with 40 seconds left in the game, when during a scuffle, Garnett elbowed Richardson in the face. Richardson was fined $25,000 due to his involvement, but did not receive a suspension.
Stu Jackson, NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations, explained the KG suspension and why Richardson only received a fine.
“Garnett was suspended for throwing an elbow that struck the head of Richardson,” Jackson wrote. “This action is analogous to a player throwing a punch that connects. By rule a player [who] swings his hand (with an open or closed fist), whether or not the hand connects, will be automatically suspended for a minimum of one game.”
In regard to Quentin Richardson, Jackson explained the following.
“Richardson’s actions played a role by precipitating the altercation that followed (e.g. verbal exchange with Garnett),” Jackson said. “These actions warranted a fine. Also besides Richardson’s verbal exchange, his grabbing of Garnett was considered. However, both these actions warranted a fine, not a suspension.”
Realistically, even Celtics fans can not be too upset with the ruling. An elbow to the head is far worse than verbal trash-talking, regardless of what was said.
Garnett told reporters after Game 1 that he went over to the sideline to help injured teammate Paul Pierce and saw Richardson standing over him, trash-talking. His intentions were to aid Pierce, but emotions quickly kicked in and tensions rose.
“I have no beef with Q, I know him personally,” Garnett said. “I thought what he did was a bit disrespectful, standing over a guy hurt, you know, and talking nonsense. Before you knew it, it all just broke out. I gotta use my head, but all I saw was Paul hurt and that’s all I cared about at that time.”
Richardson, though, did not share the same professionalism and respect for Garnett and Pierce.
“I don’t like them, and they know it.” Richardson said. He later went on to refer to the two Celtics as “actresses.”
Without Garnett in Game 2, the Celtics will need forwards off the bench to pick up the slack. Glen Davis, Rasheed Wallace and possibly even the little-used Shelden Williams are the players Boston will turn to.
Garnett has been the Celtics leader since he was traded to the team three seasons ago. Losing him for a game at such an important time could be costly to the Celtics’ playoff hopes. Luckily for Boston and their fans, the Celtics enter Game 2 with a 1-0 series and some momentum in their favor. Much of the Celtics’ core players have been around since their championship run in 2008, so even without their emotional leader, the Celtics can turn to the likes of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo to lead them to a 2-0 series lead on Tuesday night.