BOSTON — Kevin Garnett responded twice to an Atlanta Hawks co-owner calling him "the dirtiest player in the league" on Thursday. First, he responded with his play. Then he responded with some pointed words.
Garnett was hot when he sat down at the microphone after he dropped 28 points and 14 rebounds on the Hawks in Game 6, adding five blocked shots and three steals for good measure as a lovely parting gift for the Hawks' long summer. But before he addressed anything concerning his play, he directed a few shots at Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr., who made some unwise comments regarding Garnett's style of play and even threw in the dreaded "O" word ("old") for good measure on Wednesday.
"First off, I want to say thank you to their owner for giving me some extra gas," Garnett said. "My only advice to him is, next time he opens his mouth, actually know what he's talking about, X's and O's versus checkbooks and bottom lines."
Garnett was not finished.
"We're not dirty," Garnett said. "We're firm. We play aggressive. We're not dirty. You have to understand, the word 'dirty' in this game is very defined. Going under guys, trying to hurt guys, ill intent, it's not the way we play basketball.
"We play very, very respectable of our opponent, the city we're in, the game. We play with a lot of passion, play with force. It's the playoffs, but I'm not trying to hurt anybody, nor are my teammates. I just found that comment to be a little rude and a little out of hand and I wanted to address it. Just because you've got a bunch of money doesn't mean you can open your mouth."
Garnett's birthday is in eight days. Gearon probably won't be invited to the party.