After missing last year’s playoffs, Kevin Garnett was eager to be able to play in this seasons run for the championship. In his first game of the 2010 NBA postseason, the Boston Celtics’ forward made his presence known and was ejected with just 40 seconds left to play in their come-from-behind 85-76 win over the Miami Heat.
Garnett picked up two technical fouls after he elbowed Quentin Richardson in the jaw. Garnett said that after Paul Pierce had fallen in front of the Heat’s bench, he was concerned that he had hurt his shoulder and wanted to clear space for him. Richardson apparently said something and Garnett struck him in the face. Now, he could face a possible suspension for Game 2 on Tuesday night.
“I was just concerned about Paul. You make your bed, you have to lay in it,” Garnett said about a possible suspension. “I am smarter than that. I have to keep my composure in a situation like that.”
Garnett found himself in the middle of Heat players after Pierce went down. Technical fouls were called after pushing and shoving occurred on Miami’s Udonis Haslim and Boston’s Glen Davis. That is when Garnett and Richardson got into it.
“I was trying to get over there to take the ball out of bounds,” Richardson said. “I said to Jermaine, ‘He [Pierce] is OK,’ because I knew nobody touched him. Is he taking a break like he does so many times?”
The story of the game however was Miami’s inability to keep their composure. The Heat committed 22 turnovers that Boston converted into 38 points. After leading 44-41 coming out of halftime, the Heat built their lead to 61-47 with 7:02 remaining in the third quarter. The Celtics held the Heat to just 32 points in the second half and just 10 in the final period.
“The damage for us was done long before [the skirmish],” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We just did not show a lot of composure. … To play to that kind of pressure, a little bit of duress, a little bit of adversity, we did not respond well to it.”
The Celtics trailed 66-64 at the start of the final quarter, but tied the game at 68 on two free throws from Rajon Rondo and a layup by Davis gave Boston the lead for good.
Garnett finished the game with 15 points and nine rebounds for Boston who was favored in the game by 4 according to NBA sportsbooks. Dwayne Wade led the Heat with 26 points but was smothered all game by the Celtics defense. The two teams were heading in different directions heading into the playoffs. In their last ten games, Boston had won just 3 of 7, while Miami had won 12 of their final 13. Boston has their odds set at 15/1 to win the 2010 NBA Championship.