BOSTON -- Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett earned a double technical and ejection during a fracas that unfolded after Paul Pierce tumbled to the ground near the Miami bench with 40 seconds left in Boston's Game 1 victory over the Miami Heat Saturday night at the TD Garden.
"I saw Paul grab his shoulder, as a stinger or whatever, so I just tried to immediately call [Celtics trainer] Ed [Lacerte] over," Garnett explained. "I tried to give him some room and I just saw [Quentin Richardson] standing over him talking nonsense. I asked [Richardson] to give him some room and, before you knew it, mayhem started. That situation, man, I know these two [Richardson and Pierce] have competed against each other in the past and have history from bumping heads a little bit. I was just trying to give him the common courtesy for an injured player, that's all. Nothing more, nothing less.
"I have no beef with Q, I know him personally. I thought what he did was a bit disrespectful, standing over a guy hurt, you know, and talking nonsense. Before you knew it, it all just broke out. I gotta use my head, but all I saw was Paul hurt and that's all I cared about at that time."
Pierce went to the floor after experiencing numbness in a right shoulder that's bothered him throughout the end of the season. Pierce suffered a stinger in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs on March 28, then suffered a similar injury two days later in practice.
Boston's captain said he didn't remember anything from the fracas that unfolded.
"I didn't really see anything, I just knew there was a commotion," said Pierce, who described how the pain flared up in his shoulder. "I hit the same spot that I had all season, it's happened a couple times now, a pinched nerve in there, and it numbed my whole arm up. I went to the ground and I didn't see much. I just knew it was a commotion."
Referee Joe DeRosa released the following statement after the game: "[Garnett] 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."
DeRosa also noted that, regardless if contact from the elbow had not occurred, Garnett would have been disqualified for a second technical for even throwing the elbow.
Given the ref's statement and precedent, Garnett is facing a possible suspension for landing an elbow above the shoulders of Richardson. The NBA has handed out one-game suspensions in the past for players throwing elbows, including one to Dwight Howard on April 29 during last year's playoffs against Philadelphia.
Richardson sounded off on both Garnett and Pierce after the game.
"I was trying to get over there to take the ball out of bounds and [Garnett] started to talk to me, so I talked back. I don't have any business talking to him, he was on the ground crying. I don't know what was going on, two actresses over there, that's what they are.
"I just get surprised by people's actions when I know them better than that. They're not those characters they portray. They're not who they say they are, Garnett and Pierce, they're good basketball players and that's about it.
"I said to Jermaine, he's OK because I knew nobody touched him," explained Richardson. "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 gets right up, that's all I said.
"I don't like them, and they know it."
Rasheed Wallace tried to squash the situation, but it's unlikely to extinguish the flames.
"I don't care about that, dog," said Wallace. "That wasn't a key factor in this game today, that little scuffle. Don't try to blow it up, it's already squashed.
Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.