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Celtics forward Kevin Garnett has been suspended for Game 2 of Boston's first-round playoff series against the Heat for landing an elbow to the face of Miami's Quentin Richardson in a fourth-quarter fracas during Game 1 on Saturday.
The announcement was made Sunday by Stu Jackson, NBA executive vice president of basketball operations.
Richardson was fined $25,000 for his role in the altercation.
Garnett earned a double technical and ejection in the melee that unfolded after Paul Pierce tumbled to the ground near the Miami bench with 40 seconds left in Boston's victory at the TD Garden.
"I saw Paul grab his shoulder, as a stinger or whatever, so I just tried to immediately call [Celtics trainer] Ed [Lacerte] over," Garnett explained after the game. "I tried to give him some room and I just saw [Quentin Richardson] standing over him talking nonsense. I asked [Richardson] to give him some room and, before you knew it, mayhem started. That situation, man, I know these two [Richardson and Pierce] have competed against each other in the past and have history from bumping heads a little bit. I was just trying to give him the common courtesy for an injured player, that's all. Nothing more, nothing less.
"I have no beef with Q, I know him personally. I thought what he did was a bit disrespectful, standing over a guy hurt, you know, and talking nonsense. Before you knew it, it all just broke out. I gotta use my head, but all I saw was Paul hurt and that's all I cared about at that time."
|Kevin Garnett elbowed Quentin Richardson as part of the fracas that resulted in his ejection.|
Referee Joe DeRosa released the following statement after the game: "[Garnett] was ejected for throwing an elbow that made contact with Quentin Richardson. He had already had one technical foul for taunting with Quentin Richardson before that. Then as the altercation went on, he threw an elbow that did make contact with Richardson, which was his second technical foul and he was ejected."
DeRosa also noted that Garnett would have been disqualified for a second technical even if the elbow had not made contact with Richardson.
The NBA's punishment is consistent with past cases of elbowing. The league handed out a one-game suspension to Dwight Howard on April 29 during last year's playoffs against Philadelphia.
After Saturday's game, Richardson sounded off on both Garnett and Pierce, calling Garnett and Pierce "actresses" and saying, "I don't like them, and they know it."
Earlier Sunday, Garnett did his best to avoid engaging in a war of words with Richardson, but reiterated his stance that he thought Richardson's actions were "classless."
Asked for a response to Richardson's comments, Garnett wouldn't bite.
"No thoughts at all," said Garnett. "Classless -- a classless act on his part. I'm moving on with it. I'm not going to go back and forth commenting through [the media]. End this."
Garnett said he apologized to his teammates after Saturday's game.
"I apologized because, like [coach] Doc [Rivers] said, sometimes even when you're right you're wrong," said Garnett. "A situation like that was totally classless, you know, but you keep it moving. It's nothing to keep going back and forth with."
The Celtics were bracing themselves for the possibility of Garnett's suspension Sunday, though they did lament the fact that the ruling did not come down before their afternoon practice session.
Now Boston's frontcourt reserves, including Glen Davis, Rasheed Wallace and Shelden Williams, will be called upon to shoulder a bigger load in a pivotal Game 2.
The Celtics sounded confident, even in the face of losing an emotional leader."We know we can hold down the fort," Pierce said before the suspension came down. "We're not one of those teams that, when the star player goes down, you find excuses to not play hard, to not win." Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.