Hard foul on Celtics' Jayson Tatum 'looked shady,' former NBA player says


The Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat handily 114-94 in Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series, but controversy ensued toward the end of the game.

Celtics star Jayson Tatum was going up for a rebound when Caleb Martin rushed into the paint and threw a hard block. Tatum fell hard to the ground. Martin exchanged words with Jaylen Brown as Tatum walked away from the commotion. There were 59.4 seconds left in the game at that moment.

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Jayson Tatum gets a hard foul

Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin, behind center, fouls Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, front center, in front of Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, #7, in the second half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series on Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Former Celtics player Brian Scalabrine, who is currently an analyst for NBC Sports Boston, suggested there was a nefarious reason behind Martin flying into the paint.

“The only thing I would say about this, I’m not trying to start nothing here, but I’m just … (Heat coach) Erik Spoelstra called a timeout with 1:30 down by 16 (points), 30 seconds later that play happens,” Scalabrine said. “Why is he calling a timeout at 1:30 down 16? Why is that play happening 30 seconds later? I don’t know man, that looked shady to me.”

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Scalabrine then suggested Spoelstra had ordered a “Code Red,” in reference to the film “A Few Good Men.”

Jayson Tatum handles the ball

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, center, passes the ball over Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin, right, in the second half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series on Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

“I’m just saying, like, what that play right there? I didn’t like that. … That, to me, is a dirty play.”

Tatum notched his first career postseason triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Derrick White had 20 points and four assists.

“It’s a physical game playing against a physical team. S—‘s going to happen,” Tatum said of the Martin play. “It’s probably not the last time I’m going to get hit like that, or fouled in this series. I wasn’t hurt to get hit like that. Just get up. … Just go down there and knock the free throws down.”

Jayson Tatum drives on Nikola Jovic

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, #0, drives past Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic, #5, in the first half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series on Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

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Game 2 is set for Tuesday night in Boston.

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