The “good” news is that the technical foul-prone Celtics are already in midseason form.
The bad news is that the three techs they racked up Wednesday night won’t count in their assault on the record.
Jermaine O’Neal caught a tech in the second quarter of the Celtics’ 104-101 win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden for arguing an over-the-back call with referee Zach Zarba. Then, Kevin Garnett — in utter disbelief — earned himself two more quick ones jawing with official Kane Fitzgerald, getting the emphatic heave-ho from Fitzgerald.
Garnett seemed almost stunned to be ejected in an exhibition game. Celtics coach Doc Rivers looked just as incredulous, gesturing at Garnett to hit the showers.
By knocking down a 21-footer with 8 seconds left, Paul Pierce staved off the unimaginable possibility of a preseason overtime game on the same night as a preseason ejection. Pierce finished with 20 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Ray Allen led the Celtics with 24 points, fighting off a 30-point night from Amar’e Stoudemire.
The ejection ended what was shaping up to be Garnett’s best preseason game by far. He scored 6 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, and dished out 2 assists in nine minutes in the first quarter. He was barely on the court for two minutes in the second quarter before being tossed.
Putting an emphasis on “respect for the game,” the NBA has set new guidelines this season concerning technical fouls. The Celtics met with officials Sunday at the Garden before their win over the Raptors. By that point they already had amassed four techs as a team.
Von Wafer drew two in the first two nights (both fourth-quarter techs, one of Rivers’s cardinal sins). Pierce was whistled for one in the first quarter last week against the Nets for arguing a non-call, not realizing the rules change. Nate Robinson was hit with one later that game.
Tuesday night in Philadelphia, both Robinson and Jermaine O’Neal were issued techs. In all the Celtics have been called for nine Ts in five games.
Over the past three seasons, no team has been called for more techs than the Celtics (321). Last season, they led the league with 107.