Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Jaylen Brown on Jayson Tatum-Caleb Martin collision: 'I got my guy's back 10 times out of 10'

The moment Caleb Martin collided with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown was the first to come to his teammate's aid in the final minute of the Celtics 114-94 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 1 Sunday afternoon.

While Martin went over to attempt in helping Tatum up, Brown slapped his hand away and had some words with the Heat wing resulting in both being assessed a technical foul while having to be separated in the process.

It's been over 48 hours since the incident and despite a 1-0 best-of-7 series lead over Miami, the Celtics went into practice Tuesday with that "hard foul" still in the back of their minds as they look to move forward and focus on the task at hand of protecting home court.

Still, the question the remained what exactly did Brown say to Martin in moments following the controversial play that led to their confrontation.
"I just told him to watch that, making sure it's basketball plays being made out there," Brown told reporters in his post-practice presser. "We know they like to play hard and be physical, but it's a line, so just making sure that we're not compromising the integrity of the game. So, I just told him to watch it.

"At the time it looked like -- you can't tell all the components, but from what I had seen, that's all I did. I just let him know that."
If you ask former Celtic and 2008 NBA champion Brian Scalabrine, Martin's foul was not only uncalled for, but according to the now NBC Sports Boston analyst, it was a dirty play no matter how you look at it. 
"To me, it's a dirty play," Scalabrine said postgame on the local broadcast of Martin's foul. "I think anybody that looks at that, I think Martin should get suspended for that. That's a dirty play. You can't do that. Just think about that.

"The NBA is about the star players. The idea of winning an NBA championship is your star players have to stay healthy. And a guy goes up, and you just ram into him? That ain't basketball."
Martin, however, has been consistent on sticking to his side of the story that the foul, although viewed as reckless, was unintentional -- after the replay shows the Heat player get somewhat shoved by Jrue Holiday and he goes crashing into Tatum, who thankfully was not injured.
"I mean, anybody who knows me, I don’t feel the need to try to take out guys in order to be somebody," Martin told reporters Tuesday. "The first thing I did was turn around and check if [Tatum] was okay. If I was trying to take someone out, I’d just walk away. That's not who I am, it's the playoffs. Hard fouls happen all the time and if the roles were switched, I don't think anybody would be calling it a code red."
"If anybody watched it, I clearly got pushed into him," Martin added. "I was going for a put-back dunk and the push changed the trajectory. This stuff just happens, guys are playing full speed and things happen. I never try to hurt somebody."
The NBA would tend to agree, since they reportedly will not be reviewing the play for any further discipline of either upgrading the common foul call on Martin to a flagrant or even a possible suspension.

According to Heat coach Erik Spoekstra, the play was nothing short of the normal physicality that both teams have displayed over the years when it comes to facing each other -- especially in the postseason.  
"I get it, everybody gets emotional," Spoelstra said after practice at TD Garden. "If you ask fans on one side how they view the play, you ask fans on our side how they view the play and you’re going to get two totally different viewpoints on that. That's the playoffs.

"That's the fun part also for fanbases," Spoelstra continued. "It was an irrational assessment on our view of what actually happened, and the players are fine. All the outside noise or anything like that is not going to decide this series or the game. This is good, clean, tough playoff basketball and it always has been with Boston and us. It's not going over the top, the league doesn't need to look anything more on either side. This is just tough competitive basketball, this is what everybody wants."
Either way, look for the Celtics to use this incident to come out even stronger in Game 2 and expect the same if not more physicality in front of their home crowd to send a clear message that you mess with one of the pack and you'll have all of them to deal with.
"I seen a guy go down, and you know, I got my guy's back 10 times out of 10," Brown said at practice on Tuesday. "You can't tell what's what in the heat of the moment, but it looked like something a little extra. So I said something. But it looked like it was just basketball. It wasn't intentional. So we keep moving."
Tatum, Brown and the Celtics host Game 2 against Miami on Wednesday night, as TNT has the tip-off at 7:00 pm ET. 

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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