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Utah Jazz: Doc Rivers ejected, but isn't blaming refs

Published: Tuesday, March 23 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

Celtics coach Doc Rivers mocks the referees by applauding and was promptly ejected from the game Monday night. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Celtics coach Doc Rivers mocks the referees by applauding and was promptly ejected from the game Monday night. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers was ejected from Monday night's 110-97 Utah Jazz victory at EnergySolutions Arena with just 1:11 remaining on the clock.

But Rivers insists it wasn't for using profane language.

"I just said 'keep officiating the game.' That's all I said," Rivers said of the first of his back-to-back technical fouls. "I didn't swear. We're in Utah. I respect that."

While Rivers didn't think his first technical was justified, however, he knows he earned his second one by showing up referee Ed Malloy.

"I was just kind of (mock) clapping," Rivers said of his second technical. "I earned it. I didn't mind that."

While Rivers made no bones afterward about not being pleased with the officiating in general, he wasn't blaming them for the Celtics' loss.

"Let me be clear," Rivers said. "The refs didn't lose the game for us or anything like that. The Jazz just did more things in the second half. I thought they played terrific."

Boston, which had already beaten both Houston and Dallas on its 3-game trip, looked like it was going to get the Jazz, too, with its outstanding play in the first half.

"The first half I thought we were aggressive and the second half we weren't," said Celtics star Kevin Garnett, who was held to 10 points and three rebounds for the game.

The Celtics, led by Glen "Big Baby" Davis off the bench, led virtually the entire opening two quarters and had a lead of a dozen points with two minutes to play in the second.

But Utah ended the first half on a 7-0 run and started the third quarter with a 6-0 spurt. That combined 13-0 rally gave the Jazz its first lead since the opening minutes of the game.

"We closed the (first) half terribly," said Rivers. "They cut it to five (at the half). Then in the third quarter it wasn't just ball movement. We didn't get any stops. They scored every time down."

Utah, which missed all six of its 3-point attempts in the first half, came out bombing in the third quarter. The Jazz, led by Mehmet Okur's four treys, made seven 3-pointers in the second half.

"(Okur) was big with his 3-point game," said Celtics swingman Paul Pierce. "He really opened up the game from the outside. It's a tough matchup when you have Deron Williams pushing the ball up and you have a guy like Okur who trails on the break and knocks down 3s. We were a step late getting out on him."

The Celtics weren't about to take solace in the fact that they won two of three games on a rough trip to Texas and Utah.

"You want to win them all," said Pierce. "We're trying to be greedy right now, especially at this point of the season with the (playoff) seeding very important. By no means are we satisfied. We didn't come on the trip hoping to win two and lose one."

e-mail: lojo@desnews.com

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