The Atlanta Hawks were already tasked with a difficult enough assignment of facing the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Their owner did them no favors by calling out Kevin Garnett prior to Game 6 — an elimination game for his team.
Garnett had a game-high 28 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks, and three steals in the 83-80 series-clinching win on Thursday night. The veteran said afterward that he was motivated by owner Kevin Gearon’s comments (video above via WEEI’s Ben Rohrback).
“First off, I want to say thank you to their owner for giving me some extra gas tonight,” 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.
“We’re not dirty,” he added. “We’re firm, we play aggressive, but we’re not dirty. You have to understand the word ‘dirty’ in this game is very defined: Trying to hurt guys, ill intent. That’s not the way we play basketball. We play very, very respectable to the opponent, to the city, the game. I play with a lot of passion and with force. It’s the playoffs. I haven’t been here trying to hurt anybody, and neither have my teammates. I found that comment to be a little rude and 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 said, putting Gearon in place.