Pregame notes: All atwitter over KG

BOSTON -- A collection of pregame notes before the Boston Celtics host the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday night at the TD Garden:


Celtics coach Doc Rivers came out in staunch defense of Kevin Garnett, while decrying the use of Twitter among a new generation of NBA players in the fallout from Detroit's Charles Villanueva postgame Tweets suggesting that KG called him a "cancer patient" during Tuesday's game at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

"I actually heard what Kevin said, I was standing right there, and what he released [in a statement through the Celtics organization] is what he said," Rivers said. "I'm going to leave it at that. I don't like the whole Tweeting thing, I'll state that as well. I think guys talk on the court, that doesn't mean they should or shouldn't. But the fact that we're talking about this, to me, is just silly. It really is. We should be talking about [how] we had a hell of a game the other day and let's talk about basketball. It's amazing to me that this stuff is news now, that's not sports."

As a former player, Rivers seemed more upset with Villanueva's decision to Tweet what was said between players on the court, suggesting that might be an unwritten rule amongst players.

"I don't know what to do with [technology like Twitter]," said Rivers. "I used to play and I can't imagine us running and talking about what was said.

"Larry [Bird] said some terrible things to me and I'm still hurt by them," Rivers added with a touch of humor, before turning serious again. "But, you know what I mean, there are times when guys do cross the line [with trash talk] and you get over that too."

Villanueva used his Twitter account to write, "KG called me a cancer patient, I'm pissed because, u know how many people died from cancer, and he's tossing it like it's a joke." Garnett responded with a statement Wednesday afternoon suggesting, "a major miscommunication."

"My comment to Charlie Villanueva was in fact 'You are cancerous to your team and our league,'" Garnett said. "I would never be insensitive to the brave struggle that cancer patients endure. I have lost loved ones to this deadly disease and have a family member currently undergoing treatment. I would never say anything that distasteful. The game of life is far bigger than the game of basketball."

Celtics guard Ray Allen, a UConn product like Villanueva, said he didn't hear what was said between the players, but suggested that things uttered in the heat of battle probably don't need to be disseminated to a worldwide audience.

"I don't know what was said, I know they had words, they were kind of going back at each other on the floor, I didn't hear anything," said Allen. "I don't think the things that are said on the floor need to be transcribed to TV or to print."

After enduring a Twitter fiasco of his own last season that included an X-rated Tweet from his account that he later said was hacked, Allen said he became more guarded of social media and ultimately stopped Tweeting in favor of old-fashioned conversation with reporters.

"You guys are my Tweets," said Allen.


Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal will sit out his second consecutive game due to a right knee bruise suffered in last Friday's win over the New York Knicks. Rivers suggested Shaq could be sidelined for Boston's entire upcoming four-game road trip (Oklahoma City, Dallas, Miami and Memphis) ... or he could be back in time for Friday's game against Chicago.

"I figured I'd cover all my bases," Rivers joked.

With 77 games in front of them, the Celtics will not rush Shaq back before he's ready and risk injuring him worse. The knee remains sore and Shaq suggested earlier this week that he won't be able to get back on the floor until that soreness allows him to push off without pain.

"He's not going to play [Wednesday] and I don't know if he'll even play on this upcoming trip," said Rivers. "We don't know that, but just watching him move, he didn't move very well [during Wednesday's team walkthrough]."