Celtics Notes: Brown, Trade Candidates, Tatum, Porzingis

Celtics wing Jaylen Brown and head coach Joe Mazzulla weren’t happy about the reversal of a foul call in the closing seconds of Monday’s 133-131 loss to Indiana. As Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe details, with the scored tied at 131 and three seconds to play, Buddy Hield was initially whistled for a foul on Brown’s shot attempt (video link), but the call was overturned after the Pacers challenged it.

While Mazzulla was clearly irritated, he didn’t have much to say in his postgame presser, according to Himmelsbach, who notes that the Celtics coach repeatedly referred to waiting until Tuesday afternoon to see what the league has to say in its Last Two Minute report. Mazzulla also mentioned that Hield admitted to him that he thought he fouled Brown.

“I mean, I told Joe what I told Joe,” Hield said. “But they have three refs out there and they had the replay center, and that’s what replay is for, I guess. I was thinking I might have hit (Brown) a little bit, but they have three refs out there and they have cameras and they slow down the angles of it. I felt like it was not excessive contact. I know I touched the ball, I maybe nicked Brown in the head a little bit. I’m not too sure.”

Brown was more vocal in expressing his frustration and was upset in particular because he was told by referee James Williams that the replay hadn’t shown Hield hitting him in the head. The Celtics star said he thought the call should be the subject of an investigation.

“That’s what pissed me off, because I know I got hit in the head,” Brown said. “And you see on the replay, it’s pretty obvious I got hit in the head. Then you look me in my eye and tell me that I didn’t. I think that needs to be investigated. Cost my team a game and of course I’m pissed about it.”

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Although the 2023/24 salaries for Luke Kornet, Dalano Banton, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Lamar Stevens will now be fully guaranteed, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll finish the season in Boston, a source tells Brian Robb of MassLive.com. Robb suggests it’s possible that one or more of those players could be used for salary-matching purposes in a trade. It’s also worth noting that attaching a future second-round pick or some cash to one (or more) of them would allow the team to reduce its projected luxury tax bill.
  • After signing a super-max extension over the summer, Jaylen Brown entered this season looking to improve his play on defense and said he wanted each member of Boston’s starting five to earn All-Defensive votes. As Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston details, Brown has delivered on his personal goal so far, with advanced statistics suggesting he has been one of the NBA’s better defensive players in the first half of 2023/24.
  • Celtics star Jayson Tatum missed Monday’s loss due to what the team called left ankle sprain injury management. Tatum also sat out games on December 20 and 29 as a result of that left ankle issue, so it appears that the club is just being cautious with his workload. Kristaps Porzingis, meanwhile, was back in action on Monday after leaving Saturday’s contest early due to an eye issue.
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