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Celtics notebook

Pierce says ref overreacted

He sees ejection as unwarranted

Email|Print| Text size + By Marc J. Spears
Globe Staff / January 23, 2008

WALTHAM - Celtics forward Paul Pierce saw his ejection from Monday's game in New York as unwarranted and a lesser deal than what was made of it.

After continual trash-talking between Pierce and Knicks swingman Quentin Richardson, both players were ejected with their second technicals with 1:57 left in the third quarter. Pierce and Richardson had received their first technicals for trash-talking earlier in the quarter.

While both players were very heated at the time of the ejection and didn't speak to the media afterward, both downplayed the incident yesterday.

"I got a bad break with the calls," Pierce said after practice. "I didn't think I did anything to warrant a second technical. I guess jibber and jabber by 'Q' was overexaggerated and they decided to kick us both out."

Pierce had 10 points and 7 assists in the Celtics' 109-93 victory, while Richardson went scoreless.

Asked what Richardson's issue was, Pierce said, "I have no idea what's going on in their locker room or the type of issues other players are having with me. It's hard to really pinpoint."

Richardson declined to go into detail about the incident when questioned by reporters following Knicks practice yesterday. He said he and Pierce just had an "exchange of words," though he acknowledged that security had to keep them from getting near each other after they left the court.

"Everybody saw what happened when it was on the court, right?" Richardson said. "What happens between the lines happens between the lines. You saw what you saw. Everybody else did, too."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers expressed disappointment with several of his players for talking trash during the game, and noted that if it had been a playoff game, the loss of Pierce could have been huge.

Pierce acknowledged that because of their success, the Celtics are now a target and they can't afford to get caught up in the trash-talking.

"It's a tough line," Pierce said. "You don't want to come off as being intimidated. In my case, I felt like I got intentionally fouled three times in a row. Teams are going to try to do that to us. We are a team that's not going to back down from anybody.

"But at the same time, I've got to do a better job of keeping my composure. But in my eyes, I didn't feel like I was losing my composure. It was a judgment of the ref."

He's not starry-eyed

Rivers was low-key about making his first appearance as coach of an All-Star team, an honor he clinched with Monday's win.

"It's a great honor," said Rivers, who was an All-Star as a player with the Hawks in 1988. "I'll take it, obviously. It's nice, don't get me wrong, that due to my players and coaching staff I get an honor. That's how I look at it.

"It's nice, though. But for me, it's the middle of the season. But it's a great honor. I've been there before."

The Celtics believe Pierce, forward Kevin Garnett, and guard Ray Allen all deserve to be East All-Stars, too. Garnett is a near lock to be voted in as a starter by fans (final balloting results will be announced tomorrow), while Pierce and Allen hope to be named reserves by the East coaches.

"Clearly, I want them all to be there," Rivers said. "But it's a game of show, not a game of competition. All three deserve to be there. I'd be surprised if all three are not there. But we don't have a lot of say-so in that."

Said Pierce, "I would think we do [get in] because of what we accomplished as a team and as players thus far in the season. If you look back, the Pistons had a similar record [in 2006] and four guys made it. Who knows? You got to wait and see."

Posey on ice

Rivers said forward James Posey will miss his second straight game tonight against the Raptors with a sprained index finger on his right hand. Posey sat out of practice yesterday and was on the sideline with ice bags on his right hand and his knees. "It's improving, but at the same time anything can probably reaggravate it," Posey said. "It's a matter of calming everything down so it's pain-free." . . . Center Scot Pollard has not played the last six games. He has been nursing a sore right ankle and had a slight limp while running up the court in practice yesterday. "I'm in uniform," Pollard said. "I wish it was feeling better."

Closeout time

On the Raptors, whom the Celtics have beaten three times already, Pierce said, "Toronto can possibly be a team that we face in the playoffs. Every game is important. It's not necessarily a statement [game]. But we want to put a closure to the series. We've played well against them so far. We want to keep playing well against them." . . . Although Pierce slapped hands with four New York Giants players (Plaxico Burress, R.W. McQuarters, Steve Smith, and Aaron Ross) who were sitting courtside at Madison Square Garden during Monday's game, he is pulling for the Patriots in the Super Bowl. "I want the Patriots to win," he said. "I hope to see a good game." While in college at Kansas, Pierce played against McQuarters, who was on the football and basketball teams at Oklahoma State.

Marc J. Spears can be reached at spears@globe.com

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