WALTHAM — Celtics coach Doc Rivers was fined $25,000 by the NBA for publicly criticizing the officiating after Game 2 of his team’s first-round playoff series against the Knicks.
The league announced the fine Thursday, a day before Game 3 at TD Garden. The Knicks lead the best-of-seven, 2-0.
Rivers was livid with some of the calls that went against Kevin Garnett in the Celtics’ 87-71 loss. Garnett had five fouls and was more or less a nonfactor. The center also was in foul trouble in Game 1.
“I thought the fouls on Kevin, first of all they were horrendous,” Rivers said Tuesday night after the game at Madison Square Garden.
Rivers hinted during a conference call Wednesday that he might be fined for his comments.
“Even [Tuesday], I didn’t think I said much — and that could be a problem,” Rivers said. “Because all I basically said was Kevin getting into foul trouble had a huge impact on the game. That’s not criticizing officials. So I’ve just got to make sure I focus on our stuff.”
Garnett, who suffered a hip pointer in Game 2, went through a limited practice Thursday, according to Rivers.
“I’m not going to let him go through the entire practice, even if he’s feeling good,” Rivers said. “I know a hip pointer, all you need is someone to bang into you or something. I don’t even know if it’s that, so we’re going to be careful.”
Rivers has said that Garnett will play in Game 3.
Garnett was cryptic about his health, saying, “We’re a confident group.” He repeated that answer when pressed on the subject.
Avery Bradley was not on the court at the beginning of practice. He was seen leaving a medical area of the the Celtics’ training facility.
A team spokesman confirmed that Bradley participated in practice but would not explain why the guard was late.
Bradley has averaged 10.5 points, 3 assists, and 34.6 minutes in the first two games. He is expected to play in Game 3.
Making a choice
Rivers expounded on his decision to play Jordan Crawford over Courtney Lee Tuesday, saying, “Right now, honestly, Jordan’s moved in front of [Lee] on the depth chart.
“But Courtney will have a say-so in this series. And I believe that.”
Crawford played 25 minutes Tuesday while Lee played 4, the reason being, Rivers said, that Crawford gives the Celtics more offensive firepower.
“For us, our defense has been pretty good,” Rivers said. “So if it struggles, then Courtney is back in. The one thing that Courtney does better is he can make the spot-up shot from the corners. But right now we’re just going the other way.”
Said Lee, “I just want to continue to do the same things I’ve been doing. Continue to get work in after the game. Like I said, you never know. It could change next game. It was the one game. You never know.”
How has Rajon Rondo, who is recovering from season-ending knee surgery, helped the Celtics from the bench?
“Well, obviously in the second half, he’s been awful,” Rivers joked. “We need Rondo to pick up his game in the second half, along with the coaches.
“No, he’s been good. He talks to guys, he’s been great with us, too.
“Rondo knows my offense, sometimes I think better than me. That’s the truth, too. He reminds me all the time, ‘Hey, what about this, what about that?’ Sometimes I say, ‘Well, we could run if you were in, but we can’t.’ We have a lot of dialogue during the game.”