CALL HIM OLD. Call him dirty.
It just fires up Kevin Garnett even more - and that didn't work out very well for the Atlanta Hawks in their first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics.
Upset by comments from a Hawks owner calling him "the dirtiest guy in the league," Garnett responded with 28 points and 14 rebounds to give the host Celtics an 83-80 victory in Game 6 on Thursday night that eliminated Atlanta.
"Thank you to their owner for giving me some extra gas tonight," Garnett said. "My only advice to him is next time he opens his mouth to know what he's talking about with X's-and-O's vs. checkbooks and bottom lines."
The Celtics will open the Eastern Conference semifinals on Saturday in Boston against the 76ers, who eliminated East No. 1 seed Chicago.
"At least we don't have to travel," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who had hoped to be playing a day or 2 later. "I'd rather be going to Game 1 here than Game 7 in Atlanta."
Garnett topped his regular-season high of 25 points and had five blocks and three steals for Boston. Paul Pierce had 18 points despite playing with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, and Rajon Rondo had 14 points and eight assists.
But Garnett, who turns 36 this month, was the star, defying age and a reputation that led Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. to say within earshot of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "They are old. I know what happens when you play basketball, old guys foul. Garnett is the dirtiest guy in the league."
Garnett responded on the court, hitting a jumper with 31 seconds left to give Boston the lead for good.
Then he responded off it.
"I just found that comment to be a little rude and a little out of hand and I wanted to address it," he said. "Just because you've got a lot of money doesn't mean you can open your mouth."
Josh Smith had 19 points and nine rebounds for Atlanta, which failed to advance in the playoffs for the first time in four years. Joe Johnson had 17 points, Marvin Williams added 16 and eight rebounds and Al Horford had 15 points and nine rebounds.
But Horford missed the first of two foul shots with 2.3 seconds left after he was tackled by Marquis Daniels to avoid an easy dunk that would have tied the game. After he made the second, the Celtics got the ball to Pierce, who was fouled and made both free throws.
Denver Nuggets reserve center Chris "Birdman" Andersen has been excused indefinitely from all team-related activities after Douglas County sheriff's deputies searched his home as part of an investigation by the department's Internet Crimes Against Children unit.
The 10th-year pro hasn't played in the postseason after averaging 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds during the regular season.
Sheriff's spokesman Ron Hanavan confirmed that the search took place Thursday. Andersen has not been arrested and Hanavan said no arrest warrant has been issued.