If you tune in tonight to watch the Celtics vs. Heat in Game 2 of the NBA playoffs (the existence of which will be confirmed, in a way, by Clarence Swamptown in the triumphant return of Clearance Clarence later this morning), you won't see Kevin Garnett on the court.
Yes, the veteran forward acted decidedly un-veteranlike by getting himself suspended for one game for a wayward elbow that connected with Quentin Richardson (also an ex-Wolf in the loosest sense) very late in a Game 1 victory. Said Garnett, according to ESPN:
"No, I wasn't surprised at all, to be honest," said Garnett. "I told my man, [Celtics vice president of media relations] Jeff Twiss, when we were talking that I just want my message to be done, and all of this to be over with. My message here is: Whoever it is, my teammates, [Celtics coach] Doc Rivers, or anyone in the organization, I want them to know I got their back. The elbow wasn't deliberate. The league does what it has to do to set the tone. I respect that. It's time to move on and get back to a wonderful series."
We all know what a competitor KG is -- sometimes to the point where he looks like a maniac. Whether it was slamming the ball against his head at the free throw line as a youngster, launching [redacteds] at players and everyone in general during his prime or fixing his steely glare on teammates or opponents his Celtics years, basketball know Garnett's intensity seldom has had an off switch -- and apparently it still doesn't, even as he clearly moves down the back side of his career.
That said: A veteran doesn't put his team in a position where it will be without one of its key cogs in a vital playoff game. That's not having "their back." That's putting their backs against a wall. If the Celtics lose tonight and give away home court advantage to a still-dangerous Heat squad that went 18-4 down the stretch in the regular season, the onus will fall squarely on KG and his foolish elbow.