Jayson Tatum tends to be mild-mannered when addressing any kind of officiating after games. However, the All-Star did not hold back after a dominant fourth quarter against the Knicks but was partially fueled by a technical foul.
Tatum was whistled for his first technical foul of the season with 4:47 remaining in the game and the Celtics holding a 102-90 lead after being whistled for a foul on Immanuel Quickley. When asked what exactly prompted the technical foul after the game after what appeared to be a mild reaction, Tatum didn’t mince words.
“I shouldn’t have got the tech,” he said. “I mean, it’s tough. It’s an emotional game, right? The fans can see it, everybody watching can see it, it’s hard to play the game without emotions. I understand there’s a fine line and balance, but fourth quarter, we playing defense and I screamed nothing crazy.
“I’m not even directing it towards anybody. For the ref on the other side to come and give me a tech, I don’t agree with that because it wasn’t right. Can’t go back and change it now.”
The undeserved whistle appeared to fuel Tatum who erupted for 17 of his game-high 35 points in the fourth quarter. After Quickley made his free throws, Tatum immediately responded with a 6-0 run of his own that put away the Knicks for good, giving the hosts a 108-92 lead with 3:30 left in regulation. The All-Star acknowledged the outburst was prompted in part by the unfriendly whistle from the official.
“I mean, yeah, I was mad,” Tatum said. “I thought I didn’t deserve that tech at all. I’ve gotten a lot of techs in my career I know that I deserve. That wasn’t one of them.”
Tatum is now averaging 28.4 points on the year after his 35-point outburst while shooting a career-high 52 percent from the field over Boston’s 8-2 start. The victory over the Knicks gives the Celtics a three-game winning streak heading into a tough four-game road trip that begins on Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
“We just tried to come back and regroup, watch some film,” Tatum said of the 3-0 homestead. “Coming home always helps and just found some energy. Ball was popping, flying around and finding the right guys. And we’ve done a really good job of that the last three games.”