On Saturday night, the Boston Celtics trounced the Toronto Raptors during a 117-94 beatdown at TD Garden. While the scoreboard suggests that it was an uneventful contest, that was not the case late in the fourth quarter.
With 3:27 left in the matchup, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla challenged a call on the floor while up 27 points. Mazzulla ended up winning the call, but he also earned a lot of disapproving remarks from the Raptors' sideline. Most notably, Toronto point guard Dennis Schröder called the move “disrespectful” given Boston's insurmountable lead.
"Up 30 you're not supposed to challenge nothing. You won, it's three minutes left. You shouldn't disrespect us like that."
Raptors guard Dennis Schroder on the Celtics challenging this out of bounds call late in the 4th quarter.
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) November 12, 2023
“This isn't rec basketball. This is the NBA,” he said. “With four minutes left, we're trying to play. And everybody wants to hoop. Why would we not want the ball back?”
Pritchard made the most of his 24 minutes for the Celtics, putting up seven points, six rebounds, and four assists. Boston's stars led the way in the lopsided victory, as Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Kristaps Porziņģis combined for 77 points on the night.
In defense of his decision, Mazzulla said he did it for his players who might not get as many opportunities for playing time, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic.
“It was a clear opportunity to empower my players and let them know I’m coaching you,” Mazzulla stated.
If the Raptors still have an issue with the challenge, they can let the C's know about it when they meet again next Friday in Toronto for an NBA In-Season Tournament game. Meanwhile, the 7-2 Celtics will get ready for a busy week that features rematches against the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers.