Celtics coach Doc Rivers sounded more like a lawyer than a doctor.
He had finally seen the evidence from the night before, footage of his all-star forward Kevin Garnett caught in wave of chaos in front of the Miami Heat bench. He defended Garnett, who found himself in the situation after trying to protect a fallen Paul Pierce and wound up in an altercation with Quentin Richardson. But what struck Rivers was Quentin Richardson was there to begin with.
"He had no business over there," Rivers said. "We had a guy on the floor injured. There was no reason for him to be there. And then, going by all reports, not only just the crowding, but it was the taunting. Youíve got a guy injured on the floor, I donít think you should be standing over him [telling him] to get up and I canít even use the words he used.''
Garnett wound up throwing an elbow that caught Richardson solidly in the face. Now, with the NBA looking into the incident, the Celtics have to prepare for the possibility Garnett being suspended for Game 2 Tuesday night at the Garden.
"In Kevinís case, when I watched it I looked at it differently. Live, I couldnít tell because I hadnít seen it, but just watching it to me, he was just clearing space, it wasnít a punch and I donít think he knew what someone was behind him. But it happened. So letís hope for the best. Thatís all we can do."
Garnett said he didn't regret his actions but acknowledged that as a veteran and a key piece on a Celtics team trying to reach the Finals, he had to control his emotions. Having played big games in his absence, the Celtics said they'd be ready if he had to miss Tuesday's game.
"We better be," Rivers said.
"If he has to sit out then we just have to go out and play," said Paul Pierce. "Thatís out of my hands to determine that. If heís there thatís great, if not weíve got guys that can step up."
Dwight Howard was suspended for one game in last year's playoffs for elbowing Samuel Dalembert, but Garnett's case is different.
"Weíve seen worse," Rivers said. "but this is a tough one because itís a clear case that one guy kind of started [it]. So itíll be interesting how they view that one."