By Ben Golliver
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett was ejected after delivering a flagrant foul 2 to Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough during a 94-75 victory at TD Garden on Friday night.
With 8:23 remaining in the fourth quarter and Boston leading 78-55, Garnett slapped down hard across Hansbrough's face as he attempted to offer weakside help on a right baseline drive. The blow, which landed squarely, sent the Pacers' forward to his knees and led the referees to an immediate video review. After a relatively quick discussion, Garnett was immediately ejected, departing with 18 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes.
A flagrant foul 2 applies to plays that are deemed both "unnecessary and excessive" and results in an automatic disqualification. Garnett's foul, like all flagrant fouls, will be subject to review by the NBA league office, which could decide to tack on an additional fine and/or suspension.
"I was firm," Garnett said, according to Celtics blogger Evans Clinchy. "I didn't mean to get him in the face like that. I was trying for the ball, but they called it what it was."
Clinchy reported that Hansbrough brushed off questions about the foul: "I've got nothing to say about it. It is what it is."
Recent precedent suggests that Garnett could draw a fine for this foul. Over the last 10 days, Lakers center Dwight Howard was fined $35,000 for a blow to the face of Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, and Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva was fined $25,000 for an elbow to Kings guard Isaiah Thomas.
In November, Garnett was fined $25,000 for his role in "escalating an altercation" with Nets forward Kris Humphries that resulted in a two-game suspension for Celtics guard Rajon Rondo.
Rondo finished with 18 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Celtics. Hansbrough scored a game-high 19 points and added four rebounds in 23 minutes.
Boston improved to 15-17 with the much-needed home win; Indiana fell to 19-14.
Video via YouTube user NBAhighligt