Boston Celtics

Celtics forward Marcus Morris is back to yelling in faces.

After yelling in Tristan Thompson’s face in Game 2, prompting a skirmish of sorts, Morris stood over the Cavs’ Larry Nance Jr. in the second quarter of Game 5, and gave Nance Jr. an earful as he stood over him. Nance Jr. was not happy with such a move by Morris, and decided to deliver a shove right to the back of Morris as he walked away.

Joining 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Thursday, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge gave his account of what transpired just a few feet from his seat on the TD Garden floor.

“You know what, I just thought he yelled. I didn’t hear anything,” Ainge, sitting in the second row and to the left of the basket, told Toucher and Rich. “The crowd was so loud. I didn’t hear him say anything. I just heard him yell, like, ‘Ahhh!’ You know? You make noise on that play. But I don’t know what made Larry Nance [Jr.] so mad.”

The scrum, which resulted in double technicals for Morris and Nance Jr. (as well as one for Terry Rozier for his retaliatory shove to Nance Jr.), resulted in an excessive delay and gave the Cavaliers some life, with eight straight Cleveland points.

“I think it cost us some momentum right there,” Ainge said. “I was a little worried about that. It took forever to replay the incident, and they made a nice little run after that, but we bounced back and got our stuff together after that.

“I think that there’s a time and place to defend your teammates and we gotta do a better job of that.”

It was the third altercation of this series, but not something that Ainge considers a focal point of the C’s game.

“I think that typically those things aren’t calculated,” Ainge said of the C’s pushback. “They’re just reactions, emotional reactions, and it’s a very emotional game obviously, a very important game for both teams and those things do happen.”

What impressed Ainge the most, however, was the speed of Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, who came charging into the fray to make sure that Rozier, his de facto No. 1 point guard, did not get himself in any trouble beyond his initial shove.

“You see how fast Brad got into that [fight]?” Ainge asked. “I couldn’t believe that. I stood up and Brad was right there. That was the quickest move of the night. It was a great that he got there that fast and that he got there that fast. I thought the refs did a great job, and the players did a great job of not letting it escalate.”