BOSTON (CBS) — Forget the fact that the Celtics have a far superior coach, and forget that the Celtics’ roster consists of three Hall of Famers and a young point guard who looks like he’ll be an All-Star for the next decade. Atlanta Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. believes his team is trailing 3-2 in their series with the Celtics because they’re not getting any calls from the officials.
And it’s that dirty Kevin Garnett who’s getting away with murder out there.
“We don’t get any calls, which I know everybody always hears,” Gearon said in a public speaking appearance on Wednesday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But I’ll give you a stat. Last night, we are playing this old physical team. They are old. I know what happens when you play basketball, old guys foul. [Kevin] Garnett is the dirtiest guy in the league. We are playing Boston last night and they had two fouls the whole first half. We had five times that and we’re athletic.”
Despite that highly scientific approach taken by Gearon, he’s wrong. The Celtics and Hawks have been whistled for fouls the exact same number of times (99) through five games. The Celtics have taken just 10 more free-throw attempts in the series, and that wildly lopsided game that has Gearon up in arms ended with the Celtics taking one more free throw than the Hawks.
The biggest blowout of the series — Game 4 in Boston — ended with a 101-79 Celtics victory. It also featured 20 fouls called on the Celtics and just 15 fouls called on the Hawks, who held a 17-13 free-throw advantage.
I don’t remember Wyc Grousbeck, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers or anyone else complaining about the officiating after that one, do you?
As for Garnett being the dirtiest player in the league, well, that’s been said before. It happened in this very series, as a matter of fact. It’s a rather empty accusation these days, considering you can’t so much as breathe on an opponent without receiving a technical foul. If he plays hard and gets away with some tricks he’s picked up in his 17 years in the NBA, well, you can’t say he hasn’t earned it.
“I wish … some of the national media or even some of the local media, more the paper than the TV guys, recognize how hard these guys are playing based on how injured they are,” Gearon pleaded.
Unfortunately, nobody will spend Thursday talking about the gutsy play of the Hawks. Instead, they’ll be talking about their owner whining about officiating when his team is facing elimination.