BOSTON Kevin Garnett spent the latter part of Friday's 94-75 win over Indiana as a spectator, but it wasn't quite how he would have envisioned it.
Instead of on the bench, Garnett was back inside the C's locker room after being ejected with 8:24 to play and the Celtics sitting on top of a commanding 78-55 lead.
The incident involved Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough who was hit in the face by Garnett while pump-faking before going up for a shot attempt.
Officials reviewed the play afterward and called Garnett for a flagrant-two foul which is an automatic ejection.
"I've got nothing to say about it," said Hansbrough who led all scorers with 19 points off the bench. "It is what it is."
After the game, Garnett gave his version of what happened.
"I was firm," Garnett said. "I didn't mean to get him in the face like that. I was trying to swipe the ball. It was a physical game; that's what it was, part of the game."
As Boston's lead continued to swell, the level of physical play also increased.
Aware of this, Celtics coach Doc Rivers was about to take Garnett out of the game and replace him with Brandon Bass who at the time of the incident, was at the scorer's table.
Naturally, Rivers wasn't thrilled about seeing one of his players ejected.
But in hindsight, it might have been the best thing for all involved.
"Listen, there was so much crap going on at that point, I just think Cape (lead official Jim Capers) has been around the league a long time and I think he was thinking, 'I'm going to do Kevin a favor and get him out of here,'" Rivers said. "Because it was getting chippy."
Rivers added, "I really think sometimes that's what officials do, and you can't blame them for it."
Capers knows a thing or two about the Celtics being involved in chippy games.
He was the lead official during the incident between the Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 28 that led to Rajon Rondo being suspended for two games after he and Nets big man Kris Humphries got into it.
The Celtics got the win and Garnett got a chance to get some added rest even if it'll cost him 2,000 (the cost of being ejected).