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Doc Rivers: “You Can Hear Kevin Yelling, ‘You’re A Cancer, You’re A Cancer, Everywhere You Go Your Team Loses, You’re A Cancer.”

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Doc Rivers: “You can hear Kevin yelling, ‘you’re a cancer, you’re a cancer, everywhere you go your team loses, you’re a cancer.”If you just read the headlines from the other day, you probably just thought that Kevin Garnett was a world-class jerk for his reported comments about Charlie Villanueva being a cancer patient. Villanueva has a skin condition that doesn’t allow him to grow hair, so the assumption was that Garnett was just crassly making fun of him. It’s not quite that black-and-white though apparently. Garnett, despite apologizing in a prepared statement, was simply calling Villanueva a ‘cancer’ – as in, you’re no good for a team hoping to win. Rather than have me explain things, let’s turn the floor over the Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, who according to him, could hear Garnett’s comments, at least the ones made late in the game while KG was on the bench.Doc Rivers joined WEEI in Boston to talk about the trash talking incident from the other night between KG and Villanueva, how rebounding and turnovers continue to be the most important statistics for his team, his thoughts on players using Twitter, and Paul Pierce passing the point plateau in last night’s win.

On if he would agree that it was the perfect scenario for Paul Pierce to surpass the  point plateau:

“Well I guess you could call it the perfect scenario. I would have liked it done a little bit earlier in the game. But I’ll take it, and for him it really was a special moment.”

On what statistic seems to be most telling and important for his club:

“Well the one stat is rebounds, and the other one is turnovers. For us, those are the two stats that are big for us.”

On if there is anything he could or was planning to do to stop his players from using Twitter:

“You can. I mean, I could go in and say hey guys let’s make a rule that there’s no tweeting. That’s nothing that I’m going to do. The tweeting thing doesn’t bother me, it’s what we’re tweeting about and when. That’s what bothers me. After a game…like I said, I played the game and I couldn’t imagine someone going to the press after the game because someone said something to you on the floor. I don’t know, that’s an unwritten rule that I thought we didn’t cross and we did that the other night.”

On how he thought Villanueva should have handled the situation:

“Well number one, I heard that the other night. I was standing there towards the end and I honestly heard Kevin. It was right in front of our bench.”

On what exactly he heard:

“Well, I was standing there and you know what’s funny, is if you ever talk to Jeff Twiss (Celtics PR Director)….Jeff Twiss called me yesterday and before he said anything and this was probably a good three hours before Kevin had released a statement and I hadn’t talked to Kevin, and I said Kevin Garnett called him a cancer. What he said on the other end I can’t vouch for. Yelling from our bench, everybody from our bench could hear him yell ‘you’re a cancer, you’re a cancer!’ Now guys, trash talking happens so much in our game, so what happens is you play them the next day and you try to beat them. That’s the way we’ve always handled it.”

On if he felt like KG’s comments were inappropriate:

“The only thing I thought and I told Kevin this is, why are you talking to him? And you can actually see me yelling at Kevin because he got the tech, they got the double-techs. And I yelled at him, ‘why are you talking to him?’ We’re up 25 points and you’re talking to Charlie Villanueva.  He said that’s emotion. I said Kevin that’s not emotion.”

On if he thinks NBA players think less of Villanueva less after this incident:

“They probably think of him a little less, they may even think of Kevin a little less because people who weren’t there….look, listen, people are going to take sides. And Kevin has a reputation, he does talk a lot, there’s no doubt about that. But I do think that people don’t want that stuff going on. I think the players absolutely don’t want what’s said on the floor to now start to spill out on Twitter otherwise we’ll be reading stuff every day.”

On reiterating how he heard what Kevin said, at least on one occasion:

“But when they got the tech, Kevin was out of the game, and he looked over at the bench and you can hear Kevin yelling, ‘you’re a cancer, you’re a cancer, everywhere you go your team loses, you’re a cancer.’ So if he hadn’t walked out onto the floor and said ‘you’re a cancer patient now’, which I didn’t hear that or if he had said it earlier, I would have thought he still meant the same thing. So that’s the way I took it, that’s the way our guys took it. I could hear them in the locker room talking about it.”

On if KG is popular around the league:

“Yeah he is. Off the court he’s a good guy, and on the court he literally hates the opponent and I don’t find anything wrong about that. Perk told the story I think [Joakim] Noah who we’re going to see Friday – his rookie year, it was the first time he had ever played. Kevin Garnett was a guy he looked up to, and during a free throw he said hey Kevin, I’m a big fan and this summer I would love to work out with you. And Perk says the next ten words you could never repeat. Kevin just told him you”re not on my team don’t you ever talk to me again. That’s Kevin. And then if he saw him in the summer he’d work out with him. But that’s just Kevin.”

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