Hawks' Michael Gearon fined $35K

BOSTON -- The NBA fined Atlanta Hawks owner Michael Gearon $35,000 for publicly criticizing NBA officiating and making negative comments about an opposing player, executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson announced Saturday evening.

During Wednesday's off day before Game 6 last week, Gearon said at an event in Atlanta: "We don't get any calls, which I know everybody always hears. But I'll give you a stat. Last night, we are playing this old physical team. They are old. I know what happens when you play basketball: Old guys foul. (Kevin) Garnett is the dirtiest guy in the league. We are playing Boston last night and they had two fouls the whole first half. We had five times that and we're athletic."

Garnett responded by both carrying the Celtics to an 83-80 triumph in Game 6 in which he posted 28 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 blocks, and sounded off after the game on the owner's comments.

"First off, I want to say thank you to the (Hawks) owner for giving me some extra gas (Thursday)," said Garnett. "My only advice to him is next time he opens his mouth, actually know what he's talking about -- X's and O's versus checkbooks and bottom lines."

If watching Garnett end his team's season wasn't bad enough, the fine was insult to injury.

Gearon wasn't the only member of the organization that got a fine from the league on Saturday. Ivan Johnson will have to pay $25,000 for directing an obscene gesture toward fans while walking off the court after Game 6.

With Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel getting tagged with a $15,000 fine on Saturday night as well (for comments about how the referees should officiate the Pacers' upcoming series with the Heat), the NBA collected $75,000 in a short span.