Thanks to some disastrous crunch-time play, the Boston Celtics dropped Game 1 of their second-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers. James Harden carried the Sixers to victory as he finished with a playoff career-high 45 points and nailed the game-winning three with mere seconds remaining. But Harden's game-winner isn't the only late-game sequence that has Celtics fans up in arms.
Mid-way through the fourth quarter, PJ Tucker hit Jayson Tatum in the groin on a Celtics fast break play. Surprisingly, the referees never even reviewed the play for a possible hostile act/flagrant foul. After the game, the media asked Joe Mazzulla about the incident, and he decided to go full Marshawn Lynch on them with his response, per a tweet from The Atheltic's Jared Weiss:
“I'm just here so I won't get fined.”
Joe Mazzulla said refs would not review PJ Tucker hitting Jayson Tatum in the balls cause they told him, “We can’t review it just cause you want us to.”
But did he point out that Tatum was rolling on the ground for an obvious reason?
“I’m just here so I won’t get fined.”
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) May 2, 2023
Tatum had himself a fantastic all-around game in Boston's Game 1 loss. He scored 39 points — on 14-for-25 shooting from the field and 4-for-5 from behind the three-point arc — grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out five assists in 44 minutes of playing time. If there's one positive takeaway from Game 1 for Celtics fans, it's that Tatum played his best game of the postseason to this point.
The Celtics' biggest game of the season is now on the horizon. If Boston wins Game 2 and evens up the series at one game apiece, it will still be anyone's series. But if the Celtics drop Game 2 and head to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4 down 2-0, it's hard to believe that the Celtics will go on to win the series.