SALT LAKE CITY — It was an eventful Monday night for Jazz center Al Jefferson, as he continued his torrid post-Deron Williams trade play, and got into a dustup with Kevin Garnett.
Jefferson went off on the Celtics with 28 points, a season-high 19 rebounds and two blocked shots. He also unloaded on Garnett — after the game — after the two were whistled for a double technical when they fought for position in the paint when the ball was 80 feet away. The incident occurred with 3:12 left in the game.
Garnett's constant trash talk isn't what got under Jefferson's skin. It was his physical play.
"There's a lot of things I can tolerate because I've been in this league long enough to know that he's going to talk," Jefferson said of Garnett. "He likes to hear himself talk. If that's what (excites him), congratulations on him, but he's not going to touch me on the point like, 'I'm going to punk you.' No, he's not going to do that to me. I'm a cool cat. I mean, I don't bother nobody, but he's not going to touch me and that's the bottom line."
Jefferson was drafted by the Celtics, and ironically was the centerpiece of the deal that got Garnett sent from Minnesota to Boston. Garnett went on to win an NBA title. Jefferson went on to play on horrible Timberwolves teams.
Jefferson didn't back down from Garnett in Utah's 107-102 loss to the Celtics.
"Tremendous effort," said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. "In the last couple of weeks, he's really been focusing in on where to get the ball, where to get his shots, and putting pressure on guys to stop them at the basket. So he's coming, he's getting a lot better."
In February, Jefferson is averaging 23.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and two blocks while shooting 55.3 percent from the field. His numbers are even better since Williams was traded. In his four post-Williams games, Jefferson is averaging 27 points and 11.25 rebounds.
"I'm just doing what I do best, getting more confident in this offense," Jefferson said. "My teammates do a great job of getting me involved. This is the first time I'm really feeling like my old self since the injury. I'm doing what I know how to do best."