BOSTON (AP) — Jayson Tatum insisted he didn’t insult or lose his temper. He still ended up watching the end of the Boston game from the locker room.
Jayson Tatum scored 21 points before he was ejected for arguing late in the third quarter, Derrick White had 21 and the Boston Celtics beat the depleted Philadelphia 76ers 125-119 on Friday night.
“They were ready. “They were ready to kick me out,” Tatum said. Did I argue? No, I did not do it. …I was surprised. They always say, ‘Get your money’s worth. They will be fined.’ I definitely didn’t get my money’s worth.”
Without two of their leading scorers, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers led 116-115 with three minutes remaining, but ended up giving up the next eight points. Patrick Beverley had 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Philadelphia, which has lost four of six.
Boston led by six points in the third quarter and 95-91 in the final seconds of the period when De’Anthony Melton hit a long-range 3-pointer. Tatum tried to get the ball down the sideline, but lost control leading to a dispute for the ball and ended up hitting Robert Covington in the face.
Tatum was fouled, but began arguing and was ejected after interrupting the referees’ meeting while Boston coaches held him down. Tatum already had a technical foul in the first half.
Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said he had no problem with Tatum showing some fight.
“I actually like it,” Mazzulla said. “I think a little bit of that is important. Obviously, you don’t want that to get in the way of wanting to win. But I think that kind of passion and interest, I’d rather see that than nothing at all.”
As he left the field the fans began to complain and boo the officials. After reviewing the moment, Tatum’s foul changed to flagrant foul 1; Covington made the subsequent three free throws to tie the game at 95.
Derrick White also scored 21 points for Boston and Payton Pritchard scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter. Jaylen Brown and Al Horford each had 20 for the Celtics.
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