Watch: Celtics, Nets fight spills into stands at TD Garden
PUBLISHED Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012 at 8:43 pm EST LAST UPDATED 7 hours and 42 minutes ago
BOSTON — What was already a frustrating night for the Boston Celtics—a night that would result in a 95-83 loss—spilled over into fisticuffs late in the first half here at TD Garden.
A hard foul by Brooklyn Nets forward Kris Humphries on Boston’s Kevin Garnett triggered a fight under the Celtics basket that resulted in ejections for Humphries and Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, as well as a second technical of the game for Brooklyn’s Gerald Wallace, resulting in his ejection.
The dust-up started with 29.5 seconds in the first half and the Celtics trailing by a score of 51-36. Garnett was in the air in the low post when he took a foul from Humphries and hit the floor.
Rondo approached Humphries and instigated some pushing, which escalated until both spilled into the stands. Wallace joined the scrum and Garnett grabbed him, earning Garnett a technical, too.
After the game, Wallace quickly exited the Nets locker room, and Celtics media relations staff said that Rondo was not going to address the press. But crew chief James Capers explained some of the referees’ thinking behind the calls.
As to the ejection of Rondo, Capers said, “Rondo initiated everything that proceeded after the foul. And when he and Humphries go into the stands, they are involved in a fight. Fighting is an automatic ejection.”
Asked about Humphries, Capers said the reason he was ejected was because of two technical fouls. The first came on the hard foul, when Humphries initially contacted Garnett and then hit him again.
“When Kevin goes to the basket, he is rerouted by Humhpries, so we had a personal foul for the reroute,” Capers said. “Kevin is trying to continue, to get a continuation by shooting, and now Humphries hits him. Because the whistle blew, it was a dead-ball situation and that’s a technical foul for contact during a dead ball. … What proceeds after that is a fight, so he’s ejected.”
As for Garnett and Wallace, Capers said he did not think the two threw punches, which seemed to be confirmed by replay. That should help each avoid a suspension, though probably not a fine from the league office. “As we reviewed it, no,” Capers said. “They aggressively went to one another, and they basically pushed and extended on one another. But there was not a punch thrown.”
Coaches on both benches stood near their reserves in order to keep more players from entering the court. Any player that leaves the bench during a fight automatically is given a suspension. It is likely that, at the least, Rondo will wind up with a suspension because of the incident.
The ejection of Rondo will have an impact on the NBA’s history books, too, as he entered the game tied with John Stockton for the second-longest streak with 10 or more assists. Rondo had just three assists on the night. Magic Johnson holds the record for the longest double-digit assists streak, at 46 games.
And it also caused some chatter in the locker rooms. Speaking about Humphries, Celtics guard Jason Terry said, “Some guys are tough, some guys pretend to be. He’s one of those that pretends to be.”