- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Screenshot from TNT Broadcast
A screenshot of the Game 2 television broadcast on TNT with the towel in the air on right.No, the Celtics aren't throwing in the towel in their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the top-seeded Cavaliers. Just the opposite, it appears the team is looking for every advantage possible.
With 1:53 remaining in the third quarter of Boston's lopsided Game 2 triumph, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is shown on TNT's television replays tossing a white towel in the air from the baseline beyond one hoop attempting to distract Cleveland's J.J. Hickson as he shoots the second of two free throws with Boston on top 80-57.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed that the league is aware of the actions and was reviewing the situation Tuesday night.
"That was interesting to see that happen during the flow of the game, from Danny Ainge," Mike Brown told the Associated Press in Cleveland Tuesday. "If it's within the rules, hey, at this time, you do whatever you can to win. As long as it's within the rules."
Hickson missed the first free throw after Ainge simply made a motion near his seat behind the basket. Hickson made the free throw when Ainge tossed the towel skyward.
Click HERE to read more from the Associated Press.
Two quick thoughts: 1) While that 23-point lead got whittled to 10 in the fourth quarter, not sure Ainge needed to try to distract Hickson in that situation, especially since 2) the Cavaliers need absolutely no assistance missing from the charity stripe. Cleveland connected on just 26 of 38 freebies (68.4 percent) in Game 2 and finished dead last in the NBA for the regular season at 72 percent from the line.
Regardless of whether the Celtics are punished for Ainge's actions, it will be interesting to see if Boston fans follow the GM's lead. If the Celtics hand out rally towels before Game 3, one can envision a sellout crowd of 18,624 sending the towels skyward like former Patriot Tedy Bruschi did with snow after defensive touchdowns in Foxborough.
It also seems like Ainge has only endeared himself more to Boston fans with his actions. Right or wrong, fans like that their general manager is out there trying to do whatever he can to win a game -- even when his team is up 23 on the road.