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Benny the Bull takes some heat from the Celtics
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 4/3/2008 12:05 AM

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Apparently, waxing the Bulls for the fourth time this season wasn't enough for the Boston Celtics.

Following their 106-92 victory at the United Center on Tuesday, two Celtics players hurled accusations at Benny the Bull, the team's mascot.

During a timeout with 2:47 remaining in the contest, Kevin Garnett and James Posey claimed they were hit with T-shirts fired from a hand-held cannon routinely used to send the clothes flying into the seats.

"I felt threatened," said Posey, perhaps with mock exaggeration. "They already don't like me here already. I don't feel safe. They really have tough love here, but it was definitely an inside job. They made the mascot do it."

The Bulls swore Wednesday that the T-shirts bounced toward Boston players after being accidentally shot off by one of the Incredi-Bulls members, and the team quickly apologized to the Celtics and the referees. Benny had nothing to do with it.

Posey is very unpopular among Bulls fans, and for good reason. During a seven-month span in 2006 while playing for the Miami Heat, Posey committed 3 flagrant fouls against the Bulls, 2 of which resulted in suspensions. He also broke Tyrus Thomas' nose with a flying elbow, which surprisingly went unpunished by the league or game referees.

Coach Jim Boylan applauded Benny the Bull following Wednesday's practice at the Berto Center.

"Well, it was against Posey," Boylan said. "It's open season against him any time he steps on the court in Chicago. I was proud of Benny. I'm glad he took matters into his own hands."

But Benny didn't do it. The furry red creature simply went about his business of shooting back-to-the-basket half-court shots while the Celtics griped to referee Tony Brothers about the soft, cotton projectiles.

"He orchestrated it," Boylan said. "I have to admit, I got a little bit of a chuckle out of that one. It was pretty good."

Garnett told Boston reporters he got into a verbal spat with Benny, though it's unclear if Garnett was actually talking about the Incredi-Bulls member holding the T-shirt cannon.

"I turned around, saw the guy in the Bull hat, and we had some words," Garnett was quoted in the Boston Herald.

The incident didn't seem to be a big deal at the time. Posey was observed picking up the errant T-shirts, which he held throughout the entire timeout as evidence. Brothers approached Benny at midcourt but was apparently satisfied with the mascot's explanation, which included pointing to the actual T-shirt tossers.

Later in the hallway, after a Bulls security official explained things to Doc Rivers, the Celtics coach walked away chuckling.

But if Benny the Bull did intentionally shoot an opposing player with a T-shirt cannon, he would probably end up suspended or fired. So the team is interested in clearing Benny's name.

Otherwise, it was a good night for Benny. Earlier in the second half, he pulled off a quality April fool's trick by pretending to break his leg on a stunt dunk, then running back onto the court moments after being helped into the tunnel.