Walker & KG shake hands after flare-up
December, 26, 2011
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
Bill Walker approached Kevin Garnett as the Celtics' big man was boarding a team bus to leave Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
No, he wasn't looking for retaliation or Round 2 with Garnett.
He just wanted to shake hands.
"When I was leaving the arena I talked to him," Walker said on Monday. "It's no hard feelings or nothing like that. We're both competitors and wanted to win. Emotions run high when you're playing at that type of level."
About an hour earlier, Garnett had his hand around Walker's throat after the Celtics' forward missed a potential game-tying shot at the buzzer. The two had to be separated by coaches and players at the end of the Knicks' 106-104 win over the Celtics. Some have speculated that Garnett will be suspended over the incident.
"Heat of the moment," Walker said on Monday. "I just went and contested the shot. We got wrapped up, tangled up and, you know, the rest happened."
Walker's skirmish with Garnett came at the tail end of a physical Christmas Day game between the Celtics and the Knicks.
There were six technical fouls issued. Ray Allen and Toney Douglas were whistled for offsetting technicals after they became entangled in the second quarter. Carmelo Anthony drilled Rajon Rondo with an elbow, trying to clear the Celtics point guard from his personal space.
The physical play prompted Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni to claim that Celtics-Knicks is "going to be a rivalry now."
Walker and Garnett got into it after Walker contested Garnett's jumper from the right wing at the buzzer. After Garnett's shot caromed off the rim, Walker appeared to step toward Garnett and say something to the Celtic forward.
"I can't get into that," Walker said when asked what was said between he and Garnett. "We were in the heat of the game. It was a tough game throughout, it was a dog fight. Nobody wanted to lose. It just came to a head right there and it's over."
As Walker was leaving the Garden, he saw Garnett heading toward the Celtics' bus.
He approached Garnett to say that he had no hard feelings.
"We shook hands, I talked to him ... I chopped it up with him. I still respect those guys," said Walker, who played a little over one season with Garnett in Boston.
Walker later added, "I have a respect for KG."
The Celtics swept the Knicks last season in the first round of the playoffs. One reason Boston was able to dominate New York so soundly last April was the Celtics' play nature, specifically around the basket.
After what transpired on the Madison Square Garden floor on Sunday, Walker believes things will be different this year.
"They were the better team [last year]," Walker said. "This year we feel a little bit more confident. We learned some things from that series and we just wanted to play hard [on Sunday], play harder than they did. That's what they did to us last year."
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