And it was with what O'Neal would call his "soft bedroom voice" that he approached referee Zach Zarba for an explanation about the personal foul he had received trying to haul in a rebound over Knicks rookie Timofey Mozgov late in the second quarter of Boston's 104-101 preseason triumph Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Zarba instructed O'Neal to walk away. The veteran of 14 NBA seasons said he then simply asked whether he could have a conversation about the call and received a technical foul for his troubles, setting off fireworks that resulted in Kevin Garnett's getting tagged with a pair of technicals by second-year referee Kane Fitzgerald farther down the court, earning KG an automatic ejection with 4:39 to play in the first half.
Garnett was not available for comment after the game.
"I asked, 'I can't talk right now?'" O'Neal said, mimicking his gentle tone and demeanor. "Just like that, the soft bedroom voice …
"But he gave me a tech. That's too fast. That's way too fast. That's telling guys that they can't ask refs what they did. You're basically taking emotions out of the game.
"You're talking about two technicals on Kevin in a matter of seconds. You gotta be able to have an opportunity to go, 'OK, back away, I got one already, I can't get thrown out.' But to give them that quick?"
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