MIAMI Celtics coach Doc Rivers wasn't surprised that the NBA decided to not discipline Kevin Garnett for the altercation near the end of Sunday's loss to New York that involved Garnett and former Celtic Billy Walker.
Rivers had little to say Sunday about the incident that involved Garnett putting his hands around Walker's neck, because he didn't see it happen at the time and had yet to review it on video.
Rivers has seen it plenty of times since then, which he said is why he knew the league wouldn't punish the 6-foot-11 forward.
"It's funny," Rivers said. "Kevin is Kevin, and he gets into a lot of stuff. But I thought everyone missed the beginning of that play."
According to Rivers, after Garnett missed a potential game-tying jumper, Walker reached out and hit Garnett on the arm.
"It's amazing how I watched that play on TV for two days, and I didn't see that one time," Rivers said. "The TV replays Rivers saw only shows Kevin's reaction to it. I didn't think he would get suspended once I saw it on game film."
As much as it was a play that the league had to review, Rivers understands that Garnett's history of similar situations involving him and other players played a role in folks perceiving Garnett as the one who went after Walker.
"He's an instigator," Rivers said. "I don't mind. He is who he is. How old is Kevin? I'm not gonna change him. I'm not even going to try. I like his fire. I like who he is."
Rivers admits there are times when he would like to see Garnett walk away from certain situations.
But you know the saying, 'You can always kindle a fire. It's much harder to start one.' "