By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Did Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum think that Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was Daniel Theis when he threw it out of bounds on a crucial fourth-quarter possession in a series-extending Game 6 loss?
Or better yet, did Nurse play a little bit of trickery to get Tatum to think he was an on-court member of the Celtics?
Nurse’s intent is unclear. But he was entirely too involved in the play in terms of his proximity to it. It was his closest brush to the sideline all night. Interesting! (This is also the stupidest reference I’ll ever make, I know, but it was similar to when Coach Shaq disqualified the hometown team from winning in ‘Cousin Skeeter’ because his foot was on the line and thus in play. That’s how I first knew of that rule, so quick shoutout to Skeeter and his cousin for helping me out on that one.)
But Tatum didn’t want to even think about blaming Nurse’s positioning for his costly turnover.
“I mean, I turned it over,” Tatum said. “This was my fault. Can’t blame Nick Nurse, he’s not playing. It was my fault.”
But the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown had a different take on a heated Game 6 that ended with the teams jawing at one another after the final horn, with Marcus Smart at the center of the trouble, and with Nurse’s move a mere mindgame within the battle.
“A lot of emotions, things like that swirling, I ain’t going to really speak on it too much,” Brown said after the C’s loss. “That’s a respectable organization, I would expect them to act accordingly. Things seem to get out of hands at times, from coaching staffs, etc. Let’s keep it under control, let’s keep playing basketball and continue to fight.”
Wait, hold on… coaching staffs? Well, that can only mean one thing. At least based on this game.
So when a reporter pressed Brown to ask if he was indeed referencing Nurse’s move on that lost possession, Brown said something without saying anything, if you know what I mean.
“Grown men should be able to control themselves, especially coaching staffs,” Brown offered. “There’s a lot of emotions. It’s very intense. And sometimes things seem to go overboard.
“Let’s keep it in check, let’s keep it respectable, and let’s keep playing basketball. Let’s continue to do what we gotta do to keep playing basketball. Let’s be ready to fight.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens wasn’t as critical of Nurse, saying that he didn’t get a good look at it from his angle on the court.
The Celtics and Raptors will battle in Game 7 on Friday night, with a 9 p.m. tipoff, and with complete coverage and the radio call of the game on 98.5 The Sports Hub.