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A new villain emerges in Celtics playoffs

04.20.10 at 11:05 am ET
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Quentin Richardson is not the first opponent to stir up controversy in a playoff series against the Celtics during the current Big Three era. Prior to Richardson’s Game 1 altercation with Kevin Garnett, there had been a line of players before him who took on the role of “Public Enemy No. 1″ with Celtics fans. Take a look back at players fans loved to hate over the past three seasons.

Mike Bibby, Atlanta Hawks

Bibby dished the ultimate insult to Boston sports fans when he called them ‘€œbandwagon’€ in the first round of the 2008 playoffs. The Celtics crowd responded by booing him on every possession, chanting ‘€œRondo’€™s better’€ (as encouraged by RedsArmy.com), and flashing masks of Bibby’€™s face during the series. Two years later, Bibby still is jeered every time he plays at the Garden. ‘€œI’m not even worried about that,’€ he told WEEI.com this season. ‘€œI don’t worry about that.’€

Zaza Pachulia, Atlanta Hawks

Tempers flared under the basket after Pachulia and Garnett fought for a rebound during Game 4 of the first round of the 2008 playoffs. Once the big men got involved in an altercation, their teammates got involved as well and the question of suspensions was raised. But in the end, Garnett, Sam Cassell and Atlanta’s Joe Johnson were assessed technical fouls. In the deciding Game 7, Garnett fouled Pachulia while setting a hard screen and knocked the Hawks center to the ground.

Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

When Noah recently ranted about Garnett’€™s Game 1 altercation with Richardson, that wasn’€™t the first time he spoke out against his former childhood favorite. Prior to Game 7 of the first round of the 2009 playoffs, Noah didn’€™t hold back when discussing the then-injured Garnett’€™s presence on the sidelines. ‘€œI don’€™t care about him at all. I don’€™t care about him at all,’€ he told WEEI.com. ‘€œHe used to be my favorite player. Not my favorite player any more.’€ Noah also added, ‘€œHe’€™s a great player. Now that I hear stories, I see how he is, not a big fan.’€ Noah received a standing ovation when he fouled out of Game 7.

Rafer Alston, Orlando Magic

Alston temporarily interrupted Eddie House‘€™s 31-point performance in Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals between the Celtics and Magic. After House drained a 3-pointer in the third, Alston slapped him in the back of the head. At the time, Alston claimed he was reacting to being elbowed by House. But there were no signs of hard feelings from Alston a season later when he told WEEI.com that he actually wanted to play for the C’€™s after being bought out by the Nets.

Read More: Joakim Noah, Mike Bibby, Paul Pierce, Quentin RIchardson
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