BOSTON - Kevin Garnett was called for a moving screen with ten seconds left in the fourth quarter of Monday's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at TD Garden, a call that wound up costing the Boston Celtics dearly in an 82-81 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Down by three points, the Celtics inbounded the ball with 12 seconds to go, but Garnett was whistled for the off-the-ball foul by referee Mike Smith, giving the ball back to Philly. Lou Williams made two free throws, putting the Sixers up 80-75, and after a desperation three from Ray Allen, Jodie Meeks made two more free throws to seal the win and tie the series.
"Mike was in a position and he called it. I'm not going to make a big stink about it," Garnett said. "Danny (Crawford, one of the other referees) had already given me a warning about setting the picks. I'm going to continue to set picks and continue to get guys open, but to me that wasn't the reason we lost the game.
"There were things going up to that point in determining the game. But Mike made a great call, man. Hey, if you thought that was a moving pick . . . I just thought in that situation you let the players decide the game. But if that was an illegal pick, then that's what it is." (via Boston Herald)
While Garnett was (somewhat) accepting of Smith's call, Celtics coach Doc Rivers was not.
"I wasn't fond of it. At all," Rivers said. "I think Kevin got three off-the-ball offensive fouls. So, clearly it looked like they were looking for it all night, and they got three of them. Listen, if you're going to tell me that Kevin was the only one moving in picks tonight, then I'll live with that. But he clearly was not the only one. But he was the one who got the calls tonight. Listen, we put ourself in that position. At the end of the day, I say it all the time, if you put yourself in a position to let someone else do something, then you can lose games."
Rivers and Garnett will have a day to regroup before playing Game 3 Wednesday in Philly.