BOSTON – After leading his team to victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Kevin Garnett burst into flames at center court of the TD Banknorth Garden, perhaps in response to members of the media who had recently questioned his intensity in clutch moments.
As the final seconds drained off the clock, Garnett, whose 26 points and 16 rebounds were key for Boston, slowly walked to mid-court, where he paused for a moment, stared intensely into a television camera, then dramatically exploded into flames.
“I think it’s pretty obvious that Kevin’s a pretty intense kinda guy,” said Paul Pierce, who led Boston in scoring with 29 points. “He always wanted to show people how intense he was, and it don’t get much more intense than startin’ yourself on fire.”
Though Garnett’s display of intensity will surely inspire his teammates, the timing of the maneuver is somewhat questionable, as Garnett’s absence will surely be felt in Game 6 and whatever other games Boston may play in the playoffs.
“Yeah, it’s pretty much a win-win for us,” said LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers. “I mean how often do you see somebody literally catch on fire like that? That was awesome. Plus, he’s not gonna be around for Game 6, and that’ll help us out a ton.
While spontaneous human combustion has been previously reported, Garnett’s may be the first instance of intentional combustion. This is also the first undisputed occurrence of human combustion, with literally thousands of witnesses present in the arena at the moment of ignition.
“Now all those Gatorade commercials where he looks so crazy will make more sense,” said Celtics guard Ray Allen. “I was worried he was just acting. Now we’ll know once and for all that he really is that crazy.”