Celtics coach Doc Rivers broke his own rule about fourth-quarter technicals, getting T'd up by referee Ed Malloy with 11:40 to play in the fourth quarter of a one-point game.
You could make the case that the lone free throw that Corey Maggette made for the infraction added five extra minutes to his team's slate and nearly cost Boston a win, but the Celtics made far too many mental miscues to pinpoint one play. Regardless, Rivers expects grief when his team watches tape of the triumph.
Asked afterward if any players had called him out yet, Rivers smiled and said, "Not yet, but they will."
Jermaine O'Neal picked up a questionable foul as Andrew Bogut buried a forearm into his chest trying to fight for position in the lane. Rivers got the technical soon after for yapping at Malloy and, making matters worse for Boston, the referee quickly tagged O'Neal with another foul -- his fifth of the game -- just six seconds after play resumed.
Semih Erden checked in and needed just 11 seconds to get hit with a foul of his own. That made three fouls and one technical in the span of 17 seconds. Fortunately for Boston, its next defensive infraction didn't come until there was 6:24 to play in the frame, preventing Milwaukee from doing much damage in the bonus, and allowing Boston to rally out of a seven-point hole.
Despite the fouls (Boston finished with 29 infractions compared to Milwaukee's 24), poor defensive execution out of late timeouts, and even worse clock management in the final seconds of regulation, the Celtics still found a way to win the game.
“It was a lot of stuff," admitted Rivers. "Turnover, bad shot, supposed to call a timeout [but] didn’t call a timeout. Came out of a timeout, two guys were on the wrong side of the floor. We had two bad switches where they scored one time, I thought, within like a half a second. I mean, we really worked at getting it to overtime, and we did. But we won the game, so we’ll take the win. It gives coaches an opportunity to point stuff out, and so that’s what I’ll do.”
And when his players see that fourth-quarter technical, they'll also point stuff out.
--FOULS LIMIT J. O'NEAL, BUT HE LEAVES HIS MARK ON WIN--
With Shaquille O'Neal (right knee bruise) sidelined for the second consecutive game, Jermaine O'Neal got another spin with the starting unit and, despite foul trouble, turned in another step-forward effort.
Jermaine O'Neal registered five points, seven rebounds, three blocked shots and an assist over 25:16 before fouling out early in the overtime session (this after replacing Glen Davis, who had already fouled out).
"I'm feeling OK," said O'Neal. "The role is kind of different every night and one thing I really concentrate on, no matter what, is defending, blocking shots and rebounding. Just adjusting into that role."
O'Neal's biggest contribution, at least offensively, came with 1:49 to play in the extra session, when he registered a tip-in to put Boston out front, 97-95. The Celtics never trailed again, leaning on Paul Pierce's free throws to emerge with the win.
What was Rivers thinking when two of his bigs fouled out and he was forced to go small by inserting Marquis Daniels into the lineup?
"Well, they’re going to foul out. The way the game was going, it was going to happen," said Rivers. "I told our coaches that with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. I didn’t think we were going to make it through that. And we had already decided to go with Marquis and put Paul at the four. I was actually going to do that at another point in the game, anyway. And it worked."
--LOOSE BALLS: KG FLIPS SWITCHES; BOGUT ON TECHNICAL RULES--
* Remember all that flipping of switches talk from last season. Did Kevin Garnett find a switch late in the fourth quarter Wednesday?
”I wouldn’t say a switch, but it was a disgruntled game," explained Garnett. "The game had all kinds of valleys and peaks to it, advantages you are looking for, you take them, and I thought I had a couple advantages. ... Like last night when the bigs had an advantage, tonight I felt like Paul and Ray [Allen] had an advantage, and our job was to get them open, and I just saw a seam and took it, got a lot more aggressive in the fourth. I tend to try to take the pressure off those guys from a post standpoint, and that is all there was."
* Bogut and Garnett got tagged with double technicals late in regulation for a scuffle after Garnett produced one of two three-point plays. What does Bogut think of the new technical rules?
"It hasn’t really affected me," he said. "Obviously, there are some quick triggers, but they’re trying to be lenient and they talked to us about it. They’ve told us that they don’t want to T guys up, but I think the fine line is when it has to be the same with everybody. That’s when players respect the league more.
"I think that the frustrating thing is that guys are waiting to see if 'big dogs' will get the same call as the 'little dogs' as far as reactions go. So far, it looks OK, but when it’s a playoff game and it’s sold out … one guy already has a technical and it’s late in the game … that’s when you push what happens. For the most part I have no problem with it. It is a lot of money so I’ll learn to keep my mouth shut, but it’s my first one of the year. Hopefully I won’t get any more."