clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Miami Heat Playoff Notebook: The Elbow, Turnovers, Fourth Quarter Blues

Even when liars tell the truth, they are never believed. The liar will lie once, twice, and then perish when he tells the truth.

-The Boy Who Cried Wolf

The Elbow Incident As told through the men that were right on the court, the Kevin Garnett and Quentin Richardson tussle was simply an accident gone wrong. Whether you're a Celtics or a Heat supporter, we all know this isn't the case. And if Pierce has the reputation around the league as a dramatist then maybe the refs doubted there was a push and a foul by Udonis Haslem that sent him sprawling to the floor and chose not to call a foul. And Richardson wasn't buying the subsequent injury either. Richardson at first claimed to have done nothing wrong and was simply getting the ball and Garnett began jawing him. But he was pretty frank about his feelings for two of the Big 3 as reported by the Sun-Sentinel’s Dave Hyde.
I don’t like them and they know it.
I was trying to get over there to take the ball out of bounds, and he started talking to me, so I talked back. Nobody has no business talking to [Pierce]. He's on the ground, crying. I don't know what's going on. Two actresses over there, that's what they are. I said to Jay (Sabol, Heat trainer), ‘He’s OK', because I knew nobody touched him. How did he fall? Was he taking another break like he does so many times? Sometimes he falls like he’s going to be out for the season, then he gets right up. That’s all I said. I’m just surprised at people’s actions when I know them better than that.

[caption id="attachment_1307" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Garnett shielding Pierce by taunting"][/caption] What about that elbow that smacked full-force into Richardson’s chin and caused G-force-looking shock ripples through his face in slow motion video replay? Just an unfortunate mishap according to KG.
Obviously, I want all of this to be over with. The message here is that whoever it is, my teammates, Doc Rivers, anybody in this organization, I want them to know I got their backs. My elbow wasn’t deliberate. But the league does what it has to do to set a tone and I respect [that] and now it’s time to move on and get back to a wonderful series.
Jermaine O’Neal, as reported by the Boston Herald, thinks it’s no secret around the league that the Celtics are known as a "brazen" team.
They’re probably one of the teams in the league that talks more than usual, especially when they are winning. They don’t talk as much when they’re losing. I think that’s a part that people look at, that opposing teams look at. We understand that they get into the talking thing, and we just have to make sure that we don’t lose our focus and get out of our rhythm of what we do best.
Putting emotions and team allegiances aside, both parties were in the wrong. That much is obvious. But Garnett still crossed the line into violence. If Richardson was about to go kick Pierce while he was down on the floor no one would blame KG for trying to protect his teammate. Maybe Quentin shouldn’t have been there or maybe, as unlikely as it is, he really did went to that area to inbound the ball and just wanted to get a closer look at Pierce. If the two players have beef with each other dating back from before then perhaps emotions got the best of Richardson. That still doesn’t mean that Garnett should have escalated the confrontation by taking a cheap shot that could have caused major injuries to Richardson’s face. And to make matters worse it happened directly in front of fans, even worse kids, sitting courtside next to the Heat team. Even a plump fellow’s chest served as a resting point for Richardson’s hand as Garnett’s elbow first went awry, causing Q-Rich to lose his balance to his left. Garnett could have not only caused serious injury to Pierce, the very teammate he claims to want to protect with his actions and had to be shielded by the Heat’s staff, but with more players joining into the fray there could have been a chance fans could have been trampled or join in themselves. Just like the NFL wouldn’t even dream to hire a sexy female singer to perform at Superbowl halftime shows, you can bet that a situation recalling the infamous Detroit-Indiana brawl in an even bigger NBA playoff stage is the last thing the NBA would want to happen. I’m just surprised that more Boston fans and the media aren’t disappointed in KG’s behavior. His coach Doc Rivers accepted the suspension, as reported by Yahoo's Marc Spears, but was shocked Richardson was only fined.
But I really think if we are going to stop fights, you got to suspend the agitators, too. I think right now, the agitator gets fined. The retaliator is getting suspended in all these incidents. And until they stop the agitator and fine them both, I think we are going to continue to have these things. It only benefits the agitator.
Yes, but Garnett could have been the better person and made Richardson the only jackass who’s disrupting the game with his emotions instead of just playing basketball. He had an opportunity to not give ammunition to the media or to fellow NBA players who call him "dirty" and ignore Quentin’s trash talking. Not like any of his Celtics teammates do any of that sort of silly stuff anyway. Meanwhile Richardson feels no need to apologize for his actions.
I didn’t do anything regretful. I didn’t throw any punches or swing on anybody. I don’t have to get along with Pierce. He’s not my teammate, so I don’t feel the need to talk about it. I don’t have to have relationships with anybody on that team, at all. My job is to go out and help my team eliminate the Boston Celtics, and that’s as far as that relationship with any of them goes.
Let’s only hope that Richardson keeps his emotions and his game in check for the duration of the series. Let’s be totally fair, he also could have put the Heat at a disadvantage by getting himself and his teammates like fellow starters Udonis Haslem and Jermaine O’Neal into more trouble if the fight had escalated. Turnovers in Game 1 The 19 turnovers committed by the Heat and the 38 points scored by the Celtics off of them was one of the more glaring aspects of the Game 1 loss. The Celtics may not have thoroughly outplayed the Heat in this regard either with 14 turnovers themselves (exactly their regular season average) but the key difference was that the Heat only scored 14 points off of them for a difference of -24 points. Some of these turnovers were unforced and were a sign that the team might have been rusty or had nerves, possibly both. The Heat ranked third in the league with only 12.4 turnovers averaged per game and their starting point guard Carlos Arroyo was second in the entire league in assist to turnover ratio. But many were forced turnovers which shouldn’t be much of a surprise if you know that Boston finished the regular season ranked second in the league in opponent turnovers per game with 15.0 (the Heat ranks in the middle of that category in case you were wondering). Lebron James Simply put, Lebron James went off against the Bulls in Game 2 of their series that was a dogfight into the end. James closed the game out himself making 16 of 23 shots for 40 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. If James needs to do that much, especially in crunch time, against the 8th seeded Bulls while playing for the top-seeded Cavs that are loaded with talent and size then Wade should take plenty of notes of that performance heading into Game 2 of his series. Forget passing the ball and getting everyone involved, Wade needs to drive it into the hoop himself, be selfish to a degree and take advantage of the absence of Garnett and put Boston’s bigs in foul trouble. Only then should he start looking for his teammates who should have easy looks near the basket. The Heat will never beat the Celtics if the Heat’s offense goes about it the opposite way. What's worse, this isn't a new problem. Think how many games the Heat could have won if they weren't second to last in the league in points averaged in the fourth quarter behind the Clippers by .1 of a point. And if I was Wade I still wouldn’t let others take any shots during crunch time no matter what. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Wade himself in ‘06 had plenty of success in the playoffs being selfish.