WALTHAM — Doc Rivers  said he understood the NBA’s decision to suspend Kevin Garnett  for Game 2 of the Celtics  playoff series with Miami, but he also offered another solution: suspend the agitator, in this case Miami’s Quentin Richardson .
Garnett was suspended for throwing an elbow at Richardson late in Game 1 after Paul Pierce  went down to the ground near Miami’s bench. After the game Garnett said, “Q was talking nonsense.” Richardson didn’t back down after the game either, saying, in effect, that Pierce was faking an injury and that both Pierce and Garnett were “actresses.”
Pierce and Richardson have had dust-ups before although no one seems to know what’s at the root cause of their dispute.
“We all kind of knew [Garnett would be suspended],” Rivers said after practice Monday. “The only statement I’ll make on the whole thing is I accept Kevin being suspended. I think if you’re going to go to the letter of law you kind of knew how it was going to go, but I think if you really want to stop fights, you’ve got to suspend the agitators too. Right now the agitator gets fined and the retaliator gets suspended in all these instances. Until they stop the agitator and suspend them both you’re going to continue to have these things. It only benefits the agitator. I think this stuff in the playoffs will continue to happen until the league says, you know what, we’re going to suspend both of you. If we are really trying to clean up this stuff, I think that’s the right way to do it.”
For his part Garnett said he accepted the decision, but that he wanted it to be known that he support his teammates.
“Obviously I want all this to be over with, but the message here whoever it is, my teammates, Doc Rivers, anyone in this organization, I want them to know that I got their backs,” Garnett said. “That’s what [the NBA] had to do to set a tone and I respect that.”
Asked about Richardson’s role as an agitator, Garnett said, “You know how that goes, the person who instigates something is not the one that usually gets the penalty, but it’s over.”
Rivers defended Garnett’s actions, saying it was an emotional moment.
“It’s easy for me in a suit and tie to say walk away,” Rivers said. “It’s an emotional game. It’s 47 minutes into the game, you’re exhausted, you’re emotional, your best player [Paul Pierce] is lying on the floor, hurt you think, and then all this stuff happens. Whether Q said it, it doesn’t matter, it is emotional. You can remind them a thousand times, you really can. Having said that if you’re in scrum and somebody’s grabbing you to say just walk away, it’s tough to do. We have to move on.”
“It’s hard,” Rivers continued, “because you don’t want to lose Kevin Garnett, period. He is our most important player. But he’s not going to be there and there’s nothing I can do about it now. In Q’s defense, I don’t think he wanted it to happen. It happens.”
Garnett can’t be in the Garden for Game 2 and he said he would probably be at Danny Ainge’s house.
“Very difficult,” Garnett said. “Danny Ainge is planning on having me over his house to watch the game. It will be an experience. Danny talks through the whole damn game.”
Garnett also had one last dig at Chicago’s Joakim Noah , who called Garnett a “dirty player.”
“Tell Joakim Noah to keep it in Cleveland and worry about Shaq,” Garnett said as he was leaving the practice court.