A great second half by the Celtics will be overshadowed by the skirmish between the two teams that occurred late in the fourth quarter. Pierce went down near the Heat bench holding his shoulder after making a pass falling out of bounds. When the whistle blew, Kevin Garnett walked over to see if Pierce was OK. Garnett was followed by Heat guard Quentin Richardson, who had some words with the two players before the pushing and shoving (and elbowing began).
"I was trying to get over there to take the ball out of bounds and he started to talk to me so I talked back," explained Richardson. "I don't have any business talking to him (Pierce), he was on the ground crying. I don't know what was going on, two actresses over there that's what they are."
Those are some fightin' words coming out of Quentin Richardson's mouth, something he has become known for, especially when it comes to matchups between him and Pierce. He was not done talking there, however.
"I said to Jermaine (O'Neal), ‘he's ok', because I knew nobody touched him. Is he taking another break like he does so many times? Sometimes he falls like he's about to be out for the season and then he get's right up, that's all I said."
"I don't like them, and they know it," Richardson then said.
Garnett was in the middle of the fracas, and unfortunately was a little too involved, most likely earning him a one game suspension for Game 2 on Tuesday night. Garnett was trying to give Pierce some room when Richardson came over and started talking "nonsense" according to Garnett.
"I have no beef with Q (Richardson), I know him personally. I thought what he did was a little disrespectful, by standing over a guy that is hurt, just talking nonsense."
Richardson may have gotten the last laugh if it costs Garnett a game. That would be a big blow for the Celtics, who are relatively healthy going into the playoffs.
"You make your bed, you have to lay in it," said Garnett. "It is just what it is. If I see any of my teammates down, I want to make sure that they are alright. He has had a history with this shoulder and I just wanted to make sure that he was alright. So, if I have to deal with it, than that is what it is."
In the middle of the whole ordeal was still an injured Paul Pierce, whose shoulder was hurt once again.
"I really didn't see anything. I just knew there was commotion... My shoulder hit the same spot that I hurt all season. It has happened a couple of times. A pinch nerve in there, kind of numbed my whole arm up."
"I didn't even know Q (Richardson) was standing there. I was feeling the pain going down my shoulder, numbness, tingling- a sensation that you would get when you hit your funny bone. That is the sensation that I have been getting down my neck and shoulder, over the past month."
After the game, referee Joe DeRosa explained Garnett's ejection:
"He 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."
The fact that Garnett threw the elbow is enough for a suspension; actually coming in contact with Richardson pretty much guarantees it. It is a shame that Garnett reacted in the way that he did, but the playoff atmosphere got the best of him in that situation.
That playoff atmosphere is certainly a thing of beauty though, isn't it? No more of the tiresome regular season. The players said that they will be ready in the postseason- that they were built for the postseason. Well, they showed that in tonight's game. Where it goes from here, with or without Garnett, is still entirely up to them.