There was a street fight in TD Garden on Wednesday night when a basketball game broke out.
For those who haven't seen the video, it was uglier in perception than reality—a shoving match played out on the NBA hardwood. There's no place for this behavior on the basketball court, but the consequences of the episode highlighted its relative insignificance.
Boston's Rajon Rondo was suspended for two games, teammate Kevin Garnett was fined $25,000 and Brooklyn's Gerald Wallace was fined $35,000 (according to Peter May of The New York Times). The punishments fit the crimes, and all parties should have been ready to put the incident behind them.
But that's not how first-year Celtic Jason Terry conducts business.
When interviewed after the game, Terry called Brooklyn's Kirk Humphries (who's foul on Garnett started the melee), one of the NBA's pretend tough guys (according to Comcast New England's Jessica Camerato). Given that Terry distanced himself from the scrum nearly from the start, his comments bordered on ridiculousness.
Terry should have said nothing. Instead, he opted for the time-tested open-mouth-insert-foot routine.
His comments were unnecessary, perhaps the product of nothing more than frustrations boiling over after a 95-83 loss on Boston's home floor. But his words come off as no cheaper shots than Humphries' foul or Rondo's ensuing shove.
Now that the shoving's stopped, who emerges from this unfortunate event looking the worst?
If anyone needed to address the fight after the game, it was the two coaches: Boston's Doc Rivers and Brooklyn's Avery Johnson. And that's exactly what they did. Johnson was simply glad that none of his players were injured (according to Mike Mazzeo of espnnewyork.com). Rivers called Humphries' foul "unnecessary," but said that the extracurricular activities were not signs of "toughness" (according to Adi Joseph of USA Today Sports).
Terry should have stayed as far from making those comments as he did from the fight itself. It's one thing for Garnett to publicly express his appreciation for Rondo taking offense to Humphries' foul. It's quite another for Terry to save his involvement for the postgame interviews.
Terry's never been one to hold his tongue on the basketball court. And that's fine. He's had the type of productive career to say whatever he likes on the floor.
But he needs to leave the trash-talking on the hardwood. His approach to this situation will leave many questioning his own toughness.