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NEW YORK -- Celtics forward Kevin Garnett earned a pair of technical fouls and an automatic ejection during the second quarter of Boston's preseason game with the New York Knicks on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Garnett, seemingly frustrated at a lack of foul calls on New York, expressed his displeasure several times during the first two quarters. The situation came to a boil when teammate Jermaine O'Neal was whistled for a loose-ball foul while chasing a rebound of a Garnett miss with 4:39 to play in the half.
O'Neal got tagged with the first of three successive technicals against the Celtics for arguing with referee Zach Zarba. Across the court, Garnett was barking at referee Kane Fitzgerald, who hit him with one technical, then followed with the ejection soon after when Garnett continued to complain.
Garnett seemed stunned and smiled as he looked at the Celtics bench, where coach Doc Rivers motioned for him to settle down and leave the floor.
Garnett finished with six points on 3-of-5 shooting with three rebounds and two assists over 11 minutes. He was not available for comment after the game.
The NBA instituted a more stringent technical foul policy this season, aimed at limiting arguments and menacing gestures toward game officials. O'Neal earned a technical foul Tuesday night in Philadelphia after disputing a blocking foul during Boston's loss to the 76ers.
"It is what it is," said coach Doc Rivers. "We've got to live with it. It's a new, kinder, gentler me. What can you do?
"Listen, I do think, as a league, it's about all of us. It's not just the officials, the players or the coaches. It's all of us. We have to keep making this a better product and a lot of people smarter than me have decided this is what we need to do. Then that's what we have to do: Adhere to it. I don't think that's that hard."
O'Neal, however, voiced some skepticism.
"You're talking about two technicals on Kevin in a matter of seconds," he said. "You gotta be able to have an opportunity to go, 'OK, back away, I got one already, I can't get thrown out.' But to give them that quick?
"You're basically taking emotions out of the game."Chris Forsberg is the Celtics reporter for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.