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Danny Ainge Talks About Garnett’s Injury, Calls LeBron’s Officiating Comments “Embarrassing”

Danny Ainge got together late yesterday for his usual weekly interview with Salk and Holley on WEEI-FM in Boston. Ainge covered a array of topics in the Q and A, including calming concerns about the seriousness of Garnett’s injury, the recent up-and-down Celtics play and the officiating comments by LeBron James after his Heat loss to the Bulls last week. Here are a few of the highlights (with an assist from Greg Payne at ESPNBoston.com)

On Garnett’s injury: “Kevin has inflammation in his foot. It’s much better today than it was yesterday and I think he just could use some rest. On top of that, KG has just little nicks, bumps and bruises, that could use some healing time as well. He’s got a sore calf muscle as well. It’s just good for him to take some time off and get fresh. But the biggest concern right now is the inflammation in his foot.”

On whether this injury will be anything like his 2009 knee injury that keeps him out for much longer than expected: “The difference between 2009 and today is Kevin needed surgery in 2009. It was inevitable. But the thought was that if he gets surgery, he’s done for the year, or can he play until the end of the year and then get surgery at the end of the year? And there was hope that that could happen, that he would be able to play. And it was just inevitable surgery. And he wasn’t going to damage it anymore, it was a chip or a fragment behind his knee that needed to be removed.

“And so right now that’s not the case with KG. I don’t think that surgery is inevitable or we need to get through the year and he’s going to go in for surgery right after the year. That’s the difference between (2009) and now. He has inflammation in the foot. There’s soreness, there was swelling — the swelling is going down — and we think two weeks is a more than sufficient time for that to heal and we just want him fresh and ready to go.”

The highlight of the interview however, was towards the end when the discussion turned to LeBron James’ recent comments about officiating

On LeBron James complaining about officiating and tough fouls: “I don’t think either one of those were flagrants, and I think the one — LeBron against Boozer — was flagrant, yes. I think the officials had it right… I think that it’s almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating.”

I know I am going to sound like a homer here, but I need to echo Danny’s comments here. Were there some hard fouls Wednesday night? Absolutely. Borderline flagrant? Maybe. Given the playoff intensity of the game though, that can’t come as a surprise.

James is a straight freight train on offense. When he gets going to the rim, with 270 pounds behind him, there’s little you can do to stop him, much less protect yourself from a knee to the chin or chest. The Bulls didn’t try to hurt LeBron on these fouls, they just wanted to make sure he didn’t get the shot up. That’s smart and tough basketball, not dirty basketball. LeBron can’t have it both ways if he wants to be able to drive recklessly to the basket.

In any case, this was a fun jab for Ainge to get in on LeBron while he could. And as CelticsHub alumnus Zach Lowe put it to me on Twitter, let’s hope Danny doesn’t start advocating for the enforcing of moving picks or the three-second rule on defense.

You can check out more in the interview from Ainge by CLICKING HERE


  • dslack

    A flagrant foul is defined as contact that's unnecessary. A bit of a weird definition, since it's not clear what contact IS necessary, but I think it's pretty clear that LeBron was right that Hinrich's play was not a basketball play. His goal was to take LeBron down. It's true that Hinrich got the worst of that encounter, as he bounced his head on the court, but still that sort of play shouldn't be allowed/encouraged. (Yes, Rondo's foul on Brad Miller a few years ago should have been called a flagrant, too, though I wouldn't have admitted it at the time.)

    • jman

      James is running into Heinrich stumbling, Heinrich wraps his arms around him and goes down with James. The foul was offensive not defensive. Watch James push himself and lose control before the contact was actually made. James was looking for the contact and in turn actually created the issue. Stop giving this guy breaks. Stern and Co. Give him enough already.

      • hax

        THIS. I heard LeBron's comments before seeing the film. 'Hinrich grabbed me with both arms and threw me to the floor.' I was just wondering how a small guy like hinrich who can bench 150 tops could pick up an overweight 270 pound lebron. Then saw the play and lebron just does his standard 'run people over without dribbling the basketball from the 3 point line to the hoop and fist pump like I'm a beast when a defensive foul gets called.' plays. I really hope he has a career ending leg injury at this point, so pathetic and a terrible role model for kids.

        • CelticsBIG3

          I was saying this the other day. I coach young kids and you have to break the flopping habits out of them because of watching Lebron throughout their young lives. Sad. Not to mention the complaining to refs habits.

    • KillerGymRat

      Have to echo jman's sentiments and disagree with you. What LeBron said was nonsense, and ironic, considering the only "non-basketbal play" I saw in that game was LBJ winding up and elbowing Boozer in the chest.

      A non-basketball play is one that has no context for the game of basketball. Such as Ibaka nut-punching Blake. Or D-Wade kicking a guy in the groin. There is simply no justifiable reason for either of those plays as in it should not be part of the game of basketball.

      Wrapping up a player is a basketball play. If Hinrich tackled him out of nowhere then I would agree it wasn't a basketball play. But LBJ ran through him, and Hinrich wrapped him up in the context of the play to stop the drive (and likely protect himself). Trying to stop a player from scoring around the hoop is also a basketball play and one of the hardest calls to gauge both as a defensive player and a ref. When strong guys go hard to the rim you have to exert more force to stop them, which sometimes leads to unintentional contact when those two forces collide.

      What Taj did was a basketball play with unintentional contact resulting from it. The non-basketball version of this is the clothesline Andrew Bynum gave to Barea. Taj's play wasn't even close.

  • Nick Magliozzi

    I couldn't agree more with jman. Lebron is chronic complainer. Yes he is the best player in the league, but get over it. You don't need to complain the refs when you are still going to dominate the game. I hate Lebron but he is an amazing player.

  • Franklin Dononvan

    Ahhh the problem was that the refs leaned on the ol' 'side with the home team rule'. The only reason his foul was called a flagrant was because they were in Chicago. LBJ does drive to the hoop with power and is hard to stop. Still, that doesn't mean players should be able to give him hard fouls without him giving them back (protecting himself). It's the equivalent of the brush back pitch in baseball. You smack, you get smacked back.

    The real tragedy here is that the refs didn't pull the teams together after LBJ's foul on Boozer and tell them to 'cut that shyt out'. If they'd have done that then there wouldn't have been any complaining from either team.

    • KillerGymRat

      I'm pretty sure LBJ's elbow is a flagrant in any arena.

      That's a pretty easy call to make.

    • CelticsBIG3

      Are you serious? The play Taj made to stop him at the rim was a normal foul as early as 10 years ago. What happened to this league? Everytime Lebron takes contact of any kind he looks like he got shot in the chest with a cannon. Watch him closely in games. He checks himself for bleeding after every touch, regardless of strength of contact. For refs to believe a guy that is basically as strong as Shaquille O'Neal was and as quick as Michael Jordan is really banged up by Kirk Hinrich holding onto him as Lebron plowed through him you've got to commit a dick-riding atrocity. On the Boozer play, he probably should have been ejected from the game. In the replay he measures him up two or three times and checks him hard in the chest. Funny thing about it is if Boozer was as much an actor as he and Wade are and flopped on the hit Lebron might have gotten a flagrant 2.

      As for equating the whole thing to a brush back pitch in baseball, its not even close. Taj made a play on him at the rim that like I said 10 years ago wouldn't need to be "reviewed" for 5 minutes on monitors. Shoot free throws and move on. The hit on Boozer is a calculated and measured elbow to the chest. WATCH HIS EYES for Christsakes. He measures him two or three times before checking him. Taj stopped an easy basket. What did Lebron accomplish by checking a screener?

      • dslack

        What happened is a growing awareness that NBA players get multiple concussions in the course of normal play and concussions have longterm health consequences, so maybe normal play should change and maybe NBA rules should be set up to encourage such changes.

        • CelticsBIG3

          Lebron had a better chance of giving Boozer a concussion or Hinrich when his head bounced off the floor as Lebron plowed through him. The little wrap up from Taj Gibson isn't going to give him a concussion.

          • dslack

            Gibson hit LeBron in the face head. These plays are typically called flagrants in today's NBA. You're right that it wasn't a hard whack on the head and probably didn't risk a concussion, but players I support rules that discourage players from hitting other players in the face.

            You're right that Hinrich put himself a great risk of a concussion (and might have given himself one!) with his play, which is another reason why that sort of play should be discouraged.

            I didn't see anything resembling a concussion in LeBron's hit on Boozer. Nevertheless, I don't have a problem with that one being called a flagrant. It's certainly a foul, and the intent behind the hit can reasonably bump the foul up to flagrant status.

  • KillerGymRat

    My question is how come LeBron openly criticizes the refs and the league didn't fine him.

    I guess the answer is obvious. The same reason LeBron can go 6 games without a foul, or throw an elbow and not be ejected.

    It's really sad, but this season with the huge inconsistency and discrepancy in foul calls, fines, and suspensions, I feel like a kid just realizing that Santa Claus isn't real. The NBA is starting to feel more and more like the WWE.

    • Danny

      I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Lebron to get fined. "Royalty" does not get fined. As it is in life, so it is in basketball.

    • harveymd

      Isnt it an offensive foul if you drive into the paint, lower your shoulder then create the contact as the defender is going straight up?
      Lebron gets away with this almost every time he goes to the hoop.

  • shane

    lebron didnt throw in eblow u idiots lebron drove his shoulder in to his chest and threw his arm to push boozer off of him. people just need to get over the whole hating lebron thing u do anything to try and act like lebron gets calls cause of stern. you guys are morons. you get fould u get fould. just lieke u said hes so strong to stop him u have to foul him therefore fouls are called

    • CelticsBIG3

      I'm sorry shane, but he definitely threw an elbow. Watch the play…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITq6QCVMbv0 HE CLEARLY LOADS UP AND LEADS WITH THE ELBOW. The worst part is the dick riding from Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy

  • skeeds

    It's half and half with super-players like Lebron. Half of the story is, he gets a lot of leeway because he's a star, rarely ever being called for fouls and always having the benefit of doubt. The other half is, he really is a very, very talented and clean defensive player who mostly keeps his cool (last night was a rare exception). I have a much bigger problem with Kobe, who is deceivingly dirty on D and rarely ever pays for it.

    On offense, it's again 50-50. On one hand, you can't be a 280 pound behemoth of a forward and expect to get every little contact call like Durant does. Sorry dude, that's how it is. If refs called contact on Lebron like they call it on Durant or a PG, he'd shoot 70 free throws a game. On the other hand, he does get away with a lot of contact when he drives to the basket. Not as much as others, I should point out. He mostly plays clean. Look at his buddy Wade. He makes the most of his star status to actually hurt people on contact. Griffin too. (his super-dunk on Pau Gasol was a flagrant, no question) Lebron could get away with a knees to the chest, elbows, anything. He doesn't do that.
    It's stupid to hear the best player in the world whine for being mistreated, even though there might be a bit of truth in that. He needs to accept that with his physical attributes it's unavoidable, and quit bitching about it.

  • Kafel

    Did anyone of You read this: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2013/03/29/shots-fi… ? I did and I was stunned that on OFFICIAL NBA website writers can be narrow minded and write that kind of things, I mean reading this article I'm sure that fucker who wrote it is a Heat fan and he check out ending of article. RIDICULOUS, idiot…

    • CelticsBIG3

      Wow. If the NBA isn't in Lebron's pocket, then why would they allow such a ridiculous article on their website? Its like an angry child wrote it. What a lack of professionalism. Seriously are there really that many people in America who want Miami to win the Championship?

      • end of shit

        still better than old seltics
        but i preffer Memphis or Indiana

  • ???

  • davidjaggers

    I really enjoyed the matches of Danny Ainge who never think about his slip and fall on the ground is really nice one. http://slipandfallattorneyphiladelphia.net/