No suspension for Garnett following Phoenix incident


No suspension for Garnett following Phoenix incident

By A. Sherrod Blakely

LOS ANGELES It's bad enough the Boston Celtics have played so many games with players out because of injuries.

The last thing they need is to add a suspended player to list of reasons for being short-handed.

Boston won't have to worry about that, at least not for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Celtics will have their emotional catalyst, Kevin Garnett, available following his ejection in the fourth quarter of Friday's 88-71 loss at Phoenix.

There was some concern that he might be suspended for Sunday's game due to the incident between him and Channing Frye that led to him picking up two technical fouls which is an automatic ejection.

Tim Frank, the NBA's senior vice president of basketball communications, said late Saturday night that the only technical fouls that were still under review by the league involved Celtics head coach Doc Rivers who was ejected in the second quarter of the loss.

With 4:07 to play in the game, Frye was fouled by Garnett while attempting a 3-pointer.

Following the release of the shot, Garnett struck Frye in his groin region.

Frye soon fell to the floor, but rose to his feet just as quickly.

The two got in each other's faces before players and the game officials intervened.

Play was stopped while the officials converged at the scorer's table to view the replay.

After the review, lead official Steve Javie - he had already tossed out Rivers in the second quarter - called Garnett for two technicals, while Frye, Boston's Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson, were each charged with one technical foul for their roles in the incident.

"I just didn't think it was an appropriate play to make," Frye told reporters after the game. "I don't want to make a bigger deal than it is. The league will take care of that."

Following the loss, Rivers didn't believe the punishment handed out to Garnett was right.

"I thought Channing Frye was the instigator," Rivers said. "Kevin didn't jump in Channing's face. I thought Channing Frye jumped in Kevin's face. I don't know how we get a throw-out on that."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

Al Horford makes his mark on Celtics win with defense

Al Horford makes his mark on Celtics win with defense

BOSTON – Al Horford had the kind of game that stands out because of the way he scored from so many different spots on the floor. 

But the true measure of his value to this team usually lies in what he brings to the floor defensively. 

Horford had one of his better games defensively in Boston’s 97-92 win over Sacramento on Friday, a game in which he had a season-high six blocked shots. 

For the season, the four-time All-Star is averaging a career-high 2.9 blocks per game.

He’ll be looking to do more of the same tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

While Philly doesn’t have a player as dominant and difficult to contain as DeMarcus Cousins, their top post player Joel Embiid has been impressive even with a minutes restriction after having missed the last two seasons with injuries and recovery. 

Against Sacramento, he had a season-high six blocked shots which was one short of tying his career high which came against the Kings during the 2010-2011 season. 

Although Horford has ranked among the NBA’s top big men when it comes to blocking shots, the Celtics knew when they signed him to a four-year, $113 million contract they were adding a player who could help with rim protection. 

The biggest play in the Celtics’ win over Sacramento came in the closing seconds when Horford was credited with blocking DeMarcus Cousins’ shot. Horford was fouled and went to the line and made his free throws to secure the victory. 

“Playing at the power forward position it really frees me up defensively,” Horford said. “I feel like I can run around a little more and have more impact. When you are a center a lot of the times you get caught up with the bigs and it’s a little harder to get out to shooters and stuff. I’m just trying to be active, as active as I can.”

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas who was among the Green Teamers to recruit Horford to sign with Boston, seeing him protect the rim the way he did on Friday was no surprise.

“We’ve always known when we recruited him we knew that was what he was good at,” Thomas said. “Even if he doesn’t block shots, he alters shots and changes them. He’s a hell of a player on both ends of the floor and he played a hell of a game (on Friday).”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens likes what he sees out of Horford defensively, especially now that he plays for Boston and not Atlanta which eliminated the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs last season. 

“He was terrific in our series,” Stevens said. “Terrific. And so, playing him 10 times last year, and so, I mean, I think I’m an idiot but after 10 times I had at least an idea. You know, he’s all over the place and he covers a lot of ground, he calls out calls, and I think he’s a competitive guy. And that proof is in his winning track record.”