Garnett reacts to Nets' Wallace after-whistle antics

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Garnett reacts to Nets' Wallace after-whistle antics

BROOKLYN, N.Y. It's too soon to call what Boston and Brooklyn have as a rivalry.

But it's pretty clear after the two have faced three times this season, that there's not a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings between these two.

Not. Even. Close.

And in case you weren't sure, look no further than Tuesday's 93-76 Celtics win in which four different players were whistled for technical fouls - all coming on the same play.

The incident happened with 9:31 to play and the Celtics ahead 77-60.

Nets guard C.J. Watson launched a 3-pointer that was rebounded by his teammate, Gerald Wallace. Wallace was fouled on the rebound by Jeff Green. Losing his balance following the foul, Wallace reached out to grab the shorts of Kevin Garnett.

Replays showed Wallace holding on to Garnett's jersey shorts after the play, with there being a brief moment in which Garnett has his hand around Wallace's wrist.

Wallace had little to say on the play after the game.

But Garnett didn't hesitate to state his case on what happened.

"He just grabbed my shorts. I tried to help him up, make sure he didn't fall," Garnett said in describing his role on the play. "And he just kept grabbing my shorts. So I asked him what he was doing. He didn't respond. And I looked at him, what you doing? And I tried to smack his hand away. It really wasn't nothing. He just jacked my shorts."

Their exchange resulted in technical fouls against both players which offset one another. Boston's Courtney Lee and Andray Blatche also had some words during the play which led to each of them getting whistled for offsetting technical fouls as well.

These two teams are no strangers to incidents resulting in technicals being called. Garnett and Wallace were among the players involved in a Nov. 28 incident at the TD Garden when Kris Humphries delivered a foul to Garnett that sent him tumbling to the ground.

Rajon Rondo then got in Humphries face and the two began a shoving match that briefly spilled into the crowd. The league suspended Rondo for two games for his role in the incident.

In that particular play, there was a minor exchange that involved Garnett and Wallace.

Garnett, who has the reputation of being one of the game's great instigators, was clearly bothered by the fact that on Tuesday the play was done and over with when Wallace - who by now had regained his balance - still clung to his jersey shorts.

"I don't get caught up in the scenarios and all the (bleep)," Garnett said. "The play was over when he (Wallace) started. I was just trying to make sure he was safe; that was it. I don't know where in America where you can jack somebody's pants off or shorts ... I don't know what the hell was going on."

When asked if this could carry over into the next time these two meet, Garnett's response was succinct.

"Next question," he said.

Does uncertainty for Carson Smith mean Red Sox need bullpen help?

Does uncertainty for Carson Smith mean Red Sox need bullpen help?

BOSTON — Tyler Thornburg’s gone for the season and there’s really no telling when the other set-up man the Sox expected to help in 2017, Carson Smith, will be back.

The Sox have already made inroads, if minor ones, in bolstering their third-base situation and rotation. Smith’s situation leaves a question of whether the Sox will need to pursue help in the bullpen as well.

There's not an easy answer to settle on at this point.

For one, the timetable with the right-hander Smith — whose shoulder has bothered him on the way back from Tommy John surgery — isn’t clear.

“He's in a no-throw [time] through the weekend,” Sox manager John Farrell said Friday afternoon at Fenway Park. “He'll be reevaluated on Monday to hopefully initiate a throwing program. He's responding favorably to the treatment. He continues to rehab as he's been. We have not closed the book in a sense on anything Carson can contribute this year.”

What does this year mean, though? Will they be able to know by July, by the trade deadline?

“Still too early to tell,” Farrell said. “We thought he was days from starting his rehab assignment after his last live BP session in New York [on June 6]. Unfortunately, that was put on hold for the time being. To get into any kind of timeframes, timetables, I don't know that any of us can predict that right now.”

The Sox relievers have done extraordinarily well without either Thornburg or Smith. Can that continue without reinforcements? The bullpen’s ERA entering Friday was 2.94, the second best mark in the majors. Its innings total, 217, was the second. lowest in the majors. 

So it’s not like the entire group is about to collapse from fatigue. But a guy like Joe Kelly, for example, isn’t someone the Sox want to use back to back.

It’s a young group and ultimately an inexperienced group. But Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has already fallen into the trap of trading for premium set-up men twice, and that’s a dangerous road to pursue again. Perhaps a smaller trade makes more sense.

“Well, at this point, we’re open minded to help,” Dombrowski said when asked if he was targeting either third-base or relief help. “I’m not going to get into specifics at this time on what else we’re looking for. Keep an open mind on a lot of ways on which we can improve. We have guys coming back and both the spots, I think Carson Smith is very important to us and our bullpen has pitched great. The other day, we struggled but that was one of the few times we really struggled all year. 

“I think Carson still has a chance to come back and help us this year.”