Sunday, December 3, 2023

Report: Jayson Tatum's Flagrant Foul 1 downgraded to common foul, despite ejection against Sixers

Jayson Tatum's Flagrant 1 Foul against Robert Covington, in the Celtics 125-119 win over the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night, has been downgraded to a common foul, upon further review by the NBA.

The league announced its decision late Saturday afternoon on the foul call that led to Tatum's ejection with 1.1 seconds left in the third quarter of the C's victory over the Sixers.

Tatum, who had only been thrown out of a game on one other occasion in his career, said he was "extremely surprised" of Friday's ejection at TD Garden.
"I've been in the league long enough [and] I've seen a lot worse be tolerated for a lot longer," Tatum said. "For those two to throw me out of the game, I was shocked."
The All-Star forward was whistled for a loose ball foul that led to a Flagrant Foul 1 call, following the officials review of the play. According to the NBA's postgame pool report, Tatum was asked multiple times to head to the bench but continued to argue the call, before being assessed his second technical foul (he already had one from the first half). He was tossed from the game after continuing to have some words towards lead official Bill Kennedy.

"I felt like I got fouled," Tatum said. "I was just trying to have a conversation about that play. It was just kind of simple as that."

While Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said he didn't mind seeing Tatum have some fight, he also told him to laugh it off and just learn from it. 
"I actually like some of that. I think some of that is important," Mazzulla said in his postgame presser. "Obviously you don't want it to get to where it gets in the way of winning, but I think that type of passion and caring about it -- I'd rather see that then nothing at all. Sometimes you pick and choose your spots."
Despite being frustrated with the decision to be ejected, Tatum seemed calm recalling his conversation with Kennedy -- to which the other two referees (Nick Buchert and Phenizee Ransom) didn't seem pleased with what he had to say, both throwing him out simultaneously.
"They was ready. They was ready to throw me out," Tatum said of Buchert and Ransom. "The magic words? Did I cuss? No I didn't. I didn't say a cuss word. If you watch the clip you can probably read my lips. No hand gestures. Me and Bill [Kennedy] were having a conversation and the other two refs. Like I said, the refs do a have an effect on the game.

"They do have an effect on the outcome and I don't agree with it," Tatum added. "I've been in the league long enough and I've seen a lot worse behavior tolerated for a lot longer. So for those to throw me out the game, I was shocked. They always say get your money's worth when you get fined for these techs and I definitely did not get my money's worth."
Though the Celtics were able to hold on to beat the Sixers, who were playing without Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey (both due to a non-COVID illness), Tatum still wasn't happy with not being able to be on the floor with his teammates -- especially in a tight game.
"I hate not being out there to help the team win. I hate it for all the people who came," Tatum said. "Maybe it was some people's first game to come see me play and they didn't get to see me play the entire game. But, we still won, so there's some positives that came out of tonight."
Tatum, who watched the fourth quarter from somewhere in the TD Garden, made it clear that though he didn't think his behavior warranted an ejection, but the level of frustration wasn't as high as the media may have wanted to portray.
"Again, I wasn't that fucking mad. Don't put that narrative out there. I didn't throw nothing. I said what I said. There were no magic words. Assistant coaches were right there. I don't know, maybe they didn't want me to play tonight. They were eager to get me out of there.

"I walked back calmly," Tatum continued. "I sat in my chair, I got some ice, I was not mad, I didn't throw anything. I was just like it's a joke. I had to laugh it off. So no, I didn't cry, I didn't throw anything. I got ice and watched the rest of the game and watched us win."
The Celtics will look to advance to the semifinals of the In-Season Tournament when they face the Indiana Pacers on the road Monday night.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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