Hawks owner Gearon fined $35K for ripping Garnett

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ATLANTA (AP) -- The NBA has fined Atlanta Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. $35,000 for publicly criticizing NBA officiating and making negative comments about an opposing player.

The NBA also on Saturday announced Hawks rookie Ivan Johnson was fined $25,000 for directing an obscene gesture toward fans.

Gearon was quoted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as calling Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett "the dirtiest guy in the league" on Wednesday. Gearon also criticized officiating in the series, won by the Celtics in six games.

Gearon on Saturday said Garnett is "a great player." He says Celtics coach Doc Rivers, a former Atlanta player, "has been a good friend of mine for over 20 years." He says he wishes the Celtics success in the playoffs.