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Kevin Garnett leaves the floor Friday after being ejected for a flagrant-2 foul.BOSTON -- Boston Celtics forward/center Kevin Garnett earned a flagrant-2 foul and automatic ejection after making contact with the face of Indiana's Tyler Hansbrough with 8:24 remaining in the fourth quarter of a lopsided game on Friday night at TD Garden.
Garnett said he was simply trying to swipe down at the ball when his right hand made contact with Hansbrough's face with Boston out front 78-55. After video review, the referees declared it a flagrant-2 -- defined by the league as unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent -- and Garnett's night was over early.
"I didn’t mean to get him in the face like that," said Garnett. "I was actually trying to swipe the ball. They called it what it was. It was a physical game. That’s what it was: Part of the game."
Garnett finished with 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting with seven rebounds as Boston emerged with a 94-75 triumph to snap a four-game losing streak.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers deferred judgment until he got a better look at the play, but noted referees might have been trying to simply keep control in a game that was getting a little more physical with Boston comfortably out front.
"Honestly, there was so much crap going on at that point, I just think [referee James Capers] has been around the game a long time. And I think he was thinking, ‘I’m going to do Kevin a favor and get him out of there.’ Because it was getting chippy," said Rivers. "And I had Brandon [Bass] at the [scorer's] table anyway, because I could see that, too. And I really think sometimes that’s what officials do -- and you can’t blame them for it, if that’s what it was."
The league reviews every flagrant call in order to decide if the referees' decision should be upheld (with potential to downgrade or assess further penalties). Earlier this month, video review downgraded Jared Sullinger's flagrant-1 foul against the Clippers' Blake Griffin to a personal foul.