Doc Rivers lashed out at the "horrendous" officiating after Game 2. (Al Bello/Getty Images Sport)
The playoffs don't officially start until a road team wins a game or a losing coach complains about the officiating.
Doc Rivers fired the first salvo at the referees following Boston's ugly 87-71 loss to New York on Tuesday. His beef: the tight treatment of Kevin Garnett, who finished with 12 points (on four-for-nine shooting), 11 rebounds and five fouls in just 24 minutes. Garnett was forced to the sideline less than four minutes into the game with two fouls and also picked up a rare moving screen call late in the game.
WEEI.com reported Rivers' pointed assessment as well as Garnett's non-reaction.
“I thought the fouls on Kevin were horrendous, and had a huge effect on us,” Rivers said. "He never got his rhythm when you could see he was going to have a game. It hurt us.”
“At times, it’s frustrating,” Garnett said. “But fouls are part of the game. Refs are calling things but it’s an aggressive time in postseason play. I just have to be consistent and position myself not to foul so much.”
Rivers' frustration was understandable. The Celtics managed just 23 points in the second half, shooting just four-for-18 in the third quarter and three-for-18 in the fourth quarter. As Boston floundered, Carmelo Anthony was having his way, finishing with 34 points (on 11-for-24 shooting) in 39 minutes. J.R. Smith added 19 points (on seven-for-15 shooting) off the bench.
The series heads to Boston for Game 3 on Friday with the Knicks
leading 2-0. New York is seeking its first playoff series victory since 2000; Boston has advanced to at least the second round of the playoffs in each of the last five seasons.