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Celtics' Al Horford Fined $25K for 'Excessive Contact' on Magic's Mo Wagner

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 18, 2022

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 27: Al Horford #42 of the Boston Celtics celebrates during the game against the Washington Wizards on November 27, 2022 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE  (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA announced Sunday it fined Boston Celtics star Al Horford $25,000 for "unnecessary and excessive contact" to the lower body of Orlando Magic center Moritz Wagner.

NBA Communications @NBAPR

The following has been announced by the NBA: <a href="https://t.co/WwLIQfh3T7">pic.twitter.com/WwLIQfh3T7</a>

Horford was ejected in the third quarter of Boston's 117-109 loss to the Magic on Friday after being assessed with a Flagrant-2 foul. He was jostling for position with Wagner on an inbounds play when he swung his right elbow toward Wagner's groin.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Al Horford got ejected for elbowing Moe Wagner below the belt 😳 <a href="https://t.co/cLZOcmVFbB">pic.twitter.com/cLZOcmVFbB</a>

Wagner said after the game he was "a little surprised" by the elbow and pleaded ignorance on what specifically led to the excessive contact.

Khobi Price @khobi_price

Moe Wagner on what happened during the play where Al Horford where assessed the Flagrant Foul Penalty 2. <a href="https://t.co/Sp8pwnGkuo">pic.twitter.com/Sp8pwnGkuo</a>

Celtics star Jayson Tatum criticized the decision to eject Horford and called it "unbelievable," especially since Wagner was whistled for a foul as he was engaged with Horford:

"I couldn't believe Al got thrown out of the game. I didn't think that was warranted, especially once they went to go review and they saw that Mo fouled him first. That's why I got to shoot free throws. So I mean, sometimes guy get tired of people grabbing on him and the ref not seeing it, so (expletive) as a grown man, you take it into his own hands and get somebody up off of you, and that's all he did, just got him up off him because he was getting fouled."

Boston and Horford are fortunate to a degree the NBA decided against suspending him and only issued a fine. His ejection already carried a cost to the team, though.

The Celtics trailed by 10 points, 66-56, when the five-time All-Star was sent to the locker room. Wagner sank two free throws for the flagrant foul to make it a 12-point game, leaving Joe Mazzulla's squad with a hefty deficit to overcome without its starting center.

Horford will at least be able to suit up for Sunday's rematch with the Magic at home inside TD Garden.