Garnett avoids punishment; gets flagrant

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Kevin Garnett brushed away the arm of referee Eric Lewis during Friday's loss to Dallas.Celtics forward Kevin Garnett avoided a fine or suspension from the NBA despite making contact with a game official during Friday's 101-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Garnett did, however, have a second-quarter flagrant assigned, according to an NBA spokesman.

The flagrant foul occurred with 2:41 to play in the second quarter. No infraction was called on the play (a Shawn Marion rebound of a Garnett miss), but video review led to the assignment of a flagrant. It is Garnett's first flagrant foul of the season.

A potential fine or suspension could have been levied for an incident that occurred with 7:43 to play in the third quarter. Dallas guard J.J. Barea corralled Garnett and gave a hard foul to prevent an easy layup in transition. The momentum carried the two players beneath the basket, where Garnett delivered a one-handed shove to the tangled Barea.

As Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler approached, both Celtics guard Rajon Rondo and referee Eric Lewis got in the middle. As Lewis appeared to sternly warn Garnett, Boston's forward began to turn away before swatting the referee's left arm away from his body.

Garnett earned his seventh technical of the season for shoving Barea, who admitted later he was a bit surprised by the outburst.

"[The foul] was nothing -- just part of the game," Barea said. "It was a good, hard foul and he just got really upset. He said a lot of stuff and I couldn’t believe he got so mad about it."

Asked by a reporter about Garnett's reputation for going after smaller players, Barea shrugged it off.

"Yeah, I've heard that," he said. "Hey, it's all part of the game."

It's the latest incident for Garnett, who last week drew suspension chatter for what was perceived as a low blow against Phoenix's Channing Frye in the fourth quarter of Boston's loss there last Friday. The ensuing dust-up left Garnett with two technical fouls and an automatic ejection. The NBA issued no further punishment.

In the aftermath, Suns coach Alvin Gentry told Phoenix sports radio KTAR that, “I used to be a big fan of [Kevin Garnett]. Some of the antics he’s pulled lately, you don’t need to do that as a star player. I’ve never seen Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or even a Dwyane Wade do that.”

Earlier this week, while writing for his ANTA blog, Garnett said of the Phoenix incident: "This game was physical as well and super ugly. I never apologize for my actions, as I play with passion."