BOSTON -- The heated moments between Kevin Garnett and Blake Griffin seemed inevitable -- one of the most intense players in NBA history against one of the game's most promising stars.
The competitive tension was obvious on the court Sunday afternoon as the Celtics battled the Clippers at the TD Garden.
There was a third quarter tangle under the basket, followed seconds later by an inbounds play in which Garnett stood close to Griffin on defense. Garnett moved his mouth near Griffin's ear as they bumped bodies fighting for position.
In the fourth quarter, Garnett and Griffin tussled in the paint. Garnett tried to have the last word, throwing an elbow at Griffin's chest. The officials did, instead, and whistled him for a technical foul.
The snapshots were indicative of how Sunday afternoon played out for the two big men. After the game, though, neither were interested in hyping the undeniably heated matchup.
"It's just another game," said Griffin following the Celtics 106-104 win. "I'm trying to execute our game plan, I'm try to get to my spots on the floor, I'm trying to keep them from getting to their spots on the floor."
Garnett finished the day with 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 fouls, while Griffin posted 20 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 fouls.
In his postgame interview, Garnett was equally unenthusiastic about discussing Griffin.
"I don't know," he said when asked by a reporter what he did to prevent Griffin from attacking with the ball late in the game. "I'm in the midst of playing. I'm not paying attention to his mood or whatever."
Garnett and Griffin didn't say much about one another after the game, and they didn't need to.
Their heated play on the court said it all.