Celtics' Jayson Tatum Explains Spat With Warriors' Draymond Green, Gary Payton II

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 14, 2022

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) brings the ball up the court against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of Game 5 of basketball's NBA Finals in San Francisco, Monday, June 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum explained the Game 5 fourth-quarter spat with the Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green and Gary Payton II was about his desire to shoot the ball after the whistle heading into a commercial break.

Tatum detailed the situation, which saw him hold the game ball for the entire timeout, following the Celtics' 104-94 loss, which gave the Dubs a 3-2 series lead.

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"They ain't say nothing. They just didn't want me to shoot the ball."<br><br>Jayson Tatum on his exchange with Draymond Green <a href="https://t.co/ED8bGrRoRf">pic.twitter.com/ED8bGrRoRf</a>

Shooting the ball after the whistle is a bit of a gray area when it comes to the NBA's unwritten rules. Hall of Fame forward Kevin Garnett famously used to swat away any effort to get in the extra rep, but for the most part it happens without incident.

Green and Payton, sensing Tatum's desire to hoist up a shot, escorted him straight to the Celtics bench for the media timeout, so the C's star decided to just keep the ball.

It was a touch of gamesmanship amid a hard-fought series.

Golden State held a 12-point lead at halftime, but Boston stormed back, outscoring the Dubs 35-24 in the third quarter.

The Warriors defense turned up the intensity in the final period, holding the Celtics to 26.7 percent shooting (4-of-15), to regain control of Game 5.

Now Boston must win the final two games of the series to capture its first NBA championship since 2008. Golden State is seeking its fourth title since 2015.

"I've said it before: You better be confident, right?" Tatum told reporters. "We ain't got to win two in one day. We just got to win one game on Thursday. We've been in this situation before. So it's not over. Got to win on Thursday. That's all we got to worry about right now."

The Celtics found themselves in the same situation in the second round when they trailed the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks 3-2 before winning the last two games in lopsided fashion.

They'll try to repeat that feat beginning Thursday night when the series returns to their home floor, TD Garden. Staying away from the battle-tested Warriors' mind games would be a wise way to go.