The Boston Celtics head into game 3 with the Philadelphia 76ers tonight tied at one game apiece in their 7-game series. They have only themselves to blame after scoring just 11 points in the 3rd quarter of Game 2, but they have to be a little bitter about not getting one last chance to finish off a crazy comeback.
Down three with 10 seconds to go, Kevin Garnett was whistled for an illegal screen before the Celtics were even able to get a shot off. After looking at it on replay, it’s pretty obvious that KG was moving and referee Michael Smith made the right call, but should Smith have just let the play unfold? Garnett thinks so.
“I just thought in that situation you let the players decide the game,” said Garnett, “but if he felt like that was an illegal pick, then that’s what it is.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers agreed with Garnett.
“I wasn’t fond of it. At all,” said Rivers. “You know, I think Kevin got called for three off-the-ball offensive fouls. So clearly it looked like they were looking for it all night and they got three of them. If you’re going to tell me Kevin was the only one moving in picks tonight, then I’ll live with that. He clearly was not the only one, but he was the one who got the calls tonight.”
Even the 76ers’ Evan Turner was a little shocked by the call.
“I was surprised he called it, to tell you the truth,” said Turner. “I was like, ‘Yo, what happened? What’s going on?’ They called that foul, and I was like, ‘Wow, somebody’s going to be mad.’ ”
It’s true you hate to see a game decided by the refs, but apparently, Garnett had been warned multiple times during the game about his moving screens. He had to know their eyes were going to be on him. I’ve also heard some credit goes to 76ers coach Doug Collins who was in the ear of the refs the whole game calling out illegal picks. Again, should influencing an official decide the outcome of a game? Probably not, but it’s all part of the NBA, you learn to live with it.
Either way, the Celtics can’t dwell on it now. They definitely don’t want to be coming back from Philly in a 3-1 hole, so they’d better move past it and focus on Game 3.