CLEVELAND — Bill Kennedy, the official who ejected Celtics coach Doc Rivers during a Celtics-Bulls game March 17 and was fined two days later for his handling of the situation, is one of three officials for this afternoon’s Celtics-Cavaliers game in Cleveland.
Rivers, who was also fined $25,000 for his criticism of the officials after the game, said Kennedy goaded him into a second technical foul and ejection. A referees’ press release said Kennedy was correct and they were disappointed the league didn’t stand behind him.
“In some ways I know I was right, because of the [Kennedy] fine,” Rivers said after the incident. “I wish it didn’t happen.”
While it’s not unusual for officials to be fined, it’s unusual for it to become public. Considering the magnitude of this afternoon’s nationally televised game, it’s surprising that Kennedy would be chosen as one of the officials.
“It doesn’t make me feel good for anyone else to get fined,” Rivers said in February. “I don’t want to go deep into this, but it looks like the whistle-blowers don’t like it when the whistle blows. I like the fact that — coaches have been publicly fined for years, and it’s good when everyone is publicly fined. If it’s public for one, it should be public for all.”
Perhaps more notable is that the Celtics clinched the No. 2 seed in the East with Orlando’s loss last night at New Jersey. So this afternoon’s game is more about pride than anything else.