Garnett gave referee Michael Smith a long, cold stare as he walked off the parquet after the Celtics' 82-81 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday. Smith whistled Garnett for the illegal pick that cost the Celtics a chance to tie the game with 10 seconds left in Game 2, and the stage seemed to be set for another fiery postgame interview with the disgusted big man.
A subdued, dejected Garnett gave a much different type of show, offering what sounded like a compliment to Smith.
"Mike made a great call, man," Garnett said.
Still, he expressed disappointment over the fateful call.
"I just thought, in that situation, you should let the players decide the game," Garnett said. "He felt it was an illegal pick, so that's what it was."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers was also diplomatic, if displeased, about the call.
"I wasn't fond of it — at all," Rivers said, noting that Garnett was also called for two other offensive fouls away from the ball, although both of those were called by Dan Crawford. "Clearly, it looks like they were looking for it all night, and they got three of them. If you're going to tell me that Kevin was the only one moving with his picks, then I'll live with that, but he clearly was not the only one. "
The Celtics insisted they had placed themselves in that situation by shooting less than 34 percent from the field through three quarters. Had the other two members of their starting frontcourt, forward Paul Pierce or Brandon Bass, shot better than 7-for-24 combined, the controversial play might never have happened.