A foul call and a decision to foul were big topics of discussion after Monday night’s 82-81 Sixers win over the Celtics.
Both teams got plenty of leeway from the officials during Monday night’s game, but Kevin Garnett didn’t get away with an illegal screen with 10 seconds left and with the Celtics down by three. Garnett set a screen to try and free Paul Pierce for a potential game-tying 3-pointer and was called for a foul by official Michael Smith.
“Mike made a great call,” Garnett said after the game. “I don’t really give it up to the refs, but he thought that was a moving pick. I just thought in that situation you let the players decide the game. He felt like it was an illegal pick and that’s what it is.”
The play gave the ball back to Philadelphia and pretty much ended the Celtics’ hopes of winning the game.
“I wasn’t fond of [the call] at all,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “I think Kevin got three off-the-ball offensive fouls. So, clearly it looked like they were looking for it all night, and they got three of them. Listen, if you’re going to tell me that Kevin was the only one moving in picks tonight, then I’ll live with that. But he clearly was not the only one.”
Another key play concerning a foul down the stretch was the Celtics’ decision to foul the Sixers with Boston down one. The Sixers got the ball with 27 seconds left in the game, and the Celtics could have played it straight and hoped for one more chance or did what they did, which was to put the Sixers on the line. The Celtics had a foul to give, and they waited until there were 14 seconds remaining in the game to give their first foul and 12 seconds remaining to put Philly on the line. Evan Turner made both free throws.
“I wanted to foul two seconds earlier than that, but we didn’t,” said Rivers.
Said Rajon Rondo, “Coach made the right decision. He told us to foul”.