It's been five years since Al Jefferson served as the centerpiece of the trade for Kevin Garnett, but neither seems to have forgotten.
"I wasn't motivated," said a smiling Garnett, who finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. "Next question."
Midway through the fourth quarter of the Celtics' 94-82 victory ovr the Jazz, a jawing match between Jefferson and Garnett earned them double technicals.
"That's just him being him," said Jefferson, who totaled 18 points and 12 rebounds. "That's all I've got to say about that."
A year ago, the two also exchanged technical fouls in Salt Lake City. Jefferson didn't hold back last March.
"Honestly, Kevin don't bother me as far as talking," Jefferson told The Boston Globe in 2011. "Everybody can go off and talk and yap at the mouth, but I'm not going to tolerate no one touching on me and pushing me. He just pushed me like I'm a coward, and I'm not a coward. Never have been.
"It's a lot of things I can tolerate. I've been in this league long enough to know that he's going to talk. He likes to hear himself talk. But he's not going to touch me on a point like, 'I'm going to punk you.' You're not going to do that to me. I'm a cool cat, and I don't bother nobody."
On Wednesday night, Jefferson & Co. battled from a third-quarter deficit as large as 18 points to tie the game at 66 early in the fourth quarter, but Garnett connected on a 20-foot jumper that stretched the C's lead to 80-71.
"That's just Boston being Boston," Jefferson said. "They stepped up their defense. They hit big shots. They're a veteran team."
Moments after Garnett deflated the Jazz, he and Jefferson renewed their verbal rivalry.
"One of his Jedi mind tricks worked tonight," Celtics guard Keyon Dooling said. "A lot of times people focus more on the antics and lose sight of a particular possession in the game, and his Jedi mind trick worked tonight."
The loss makes Jefferson 0-for-8 in his career against the Celtics since being traded to the Timberwolves back in 2007.
"It's always good coming back here," he said. "It'd be nice to get a win. I haven't beaten them since I left, but it's always good to come back."
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