Celtics star Jayson Tatum didn’t believe he should have been ejected from Friday’s game, and the league office appears to be in agreement, tweeting that the flagrant foul called against Tatum late in the third quarter has been downgraded to a common foul.
As Souichi Terada of MassLive recounts, Tatum was whistled for the flagrant foul while battling for a loose ball with Philadelphia’s Robert Covington. When Tatum protested to the officials, he was given his second technical of the night.
“I was extremely surprised,” Tatum said. “Y’all all saw what happened. You might not know what I said, but I mean, I guess whatever I said doesn’t matter at this point. I don’t agree with that. One of the assistant coaches who was there with me doesn’t agree. But it doesn’t really matter, right? It’s like the ref’s word against ours.”
In his pool report after the game, crew chief Bill Kennedy wrote that Tatum was T’d up on the play because “he continued to complain about the foul called on the floor and overtly gestures toward the officials.” Tatum claims he was trying to have a discussion with referees Nick Buchert and Phenizee Ransom when they tossed him out of the game.
“It was like, they was ready to throw me out,” Tatum said. “One of the magic words? Did I cuss? No, I didn’t. I didn’t have to say a cuss word. If you watch the clips, you probably can read my lips. No hand gestures. … I’ve been in the league long enough, I’ve seen a lot worse behavior and reactions get tolerated for a lot longer. So for those two to throw me out the game, I was shocked.”
There’s more from Boston:
- The Celtics are hoping Kristaps Porzingis can be ready for Monday’s in-season tournament quarterfinal, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Porzingis has missed the past three games with a strained calf, but coach Joe Mazzulla said he was able to complete an on-court workout before Thursday’s practice.
- Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both posting up more often this season, with a combined 4.5 post looks per game heading into Friday, Himmelsbach adds. “I just think that’s two of our skill sets, me and Jayson,” Brown said. “Love to play with our back to the basket as big wings, take advantage of matchups and you score more efficiently, especially in the playoffs when things get a little tougher.”
- Mazzulla directed an effort this summer for the Celtics to keep in touch with their former players, Himmelsbach states in a separate story. Emails were sent to about 225 ex-players, and Mazzulla asked new assistant coach Sam Cassell, a backup on the 2007/08 title team, to serve as a conduit for members of that squad. “Joe wants this to be a huge family,” Cassell said. “The tradition is there, but he just wants this to be a huge family.”