BOSTON -- Celtics forward Kevin Garnett sought out Denver Nuggets coach George Karl following Boston's 105-89 triumph Wednesday night at the TD Garden to clarify his use of "cancerous" to describe Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva earlier this season.
After Boston's early November win in Detroit, Villanueva went on Twitter and accused Garnett of calling him a "cancer patient" during on-court trash talk. Garnett later released a statement saying he was merely calling Villanueva "cancerous to [his] team and the league."
In the aftermath, Karl, a cancer survivor after battling throat and neck cancer last spring, expressed disappointment in Garnett's action, telling the Denver Post: "If Kevin and I were close friends, I'd probably call him up and say, 'I don't think that's right.' But I also believe that competition makes us do things when we don't have our total mental morality in line."
On Wednesday, Garnett didn't give too many specifics about the exchange caught on ESPN's telecast.
"I just went over and, I know there's some speculation [about what Garnett said], and I'm not going to get into it, you all know what I'm talking about," said Garnett. "I went up to him as a man and what I said is that I had nothing personal toward him nor any other cancer patient that is out there struggling and dealing with life situations. I wanted to say that to him, man to man. I was going to do it before the game, when the [shot] clocks and stuff was messed up [delaying the opening tipoff], but I wanted to get the game out of the way, and then approach him."
The exchange was brief and Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the duo.
"He just came over and we talked, man to man, I appreciated that," Karl said. "I thought it was a classy gesture."
Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.