BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers expressed dissatisfaction with a late-game offensive foul call on Kevin Garnett that prevented Boston from generating what would have been a potential tying attempt in the final seconds of an 82-81 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 2 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series at TD Garden.
Referee Michael Smith whistled Garnett for an illegal screen trying to spring Paul Pierce for a potential 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining in a three-point game.
“I wasn’t fond of it. At all," said Rivers. "I think Kevin got three off-the-ball fouls. So, clearly it looked like they were looking for it all night, and they got three of them. Listen, if you’re going to tell me that Kevin was the only one moving on picks tonight, then I’ll live with that. But he clearly was not the only one; he was the one who got the calls tonight. Listen, we put ourself in that position. At the end of the day, I say it all the time, if you put yourself in a position to let someone else do something, then you can lose games. And that’s what happened.”
Garnett got tagged with another moving screen in the first quarter, then got whistled for pushing Spencer Hawes while defending a pick-and-roll earlier in the fourth frame. For his part, Garnett reasoned that there were plenty of other moments that cost Boston a chance to win the game before his offensive foul.
“Mike was in a position and he called it. I’m not going to make a big stink about it,” said Garnett. “I think [referee] Danny [Crawford] had already given me a warning about how I was setting picks. I’m going to continue to set picks and continue to get guys open.
Later Garnett added: “Mike made a great call, man. I don’t really give it up to refs... I just thought in that situation you let the players decide the game. But if he thought it was a moving pick, then that’s what it is.”
Asked if he was upset at the referee's call, Pierce said: "That’s the name of the game sometimes. They make a call, you got to live with it.”