Monday’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals didn’t get too chippy, but there was one moment late in the fourth quarter where it looked like things might pop off.
After the Celtics took a timeout, Gary Payton II continued to guard Jayson Tatum, not allowing him to get a shot up. Then Draymond Green joined in, with the two players literally double-teaming Tatum as he continued to hold onto the ball and walk to the Celtics bench.
This continued until all three players were on the sideline, with Green and Payton surrounded by Celtics players. Eventually the officials got involved, and escorted Green and Payton back to the Boston bench.
Tatum was asked about the moment postgame and gave his perspective on the incident.
“In the NBA after timeouts, guys try to get shots up,” Tatum said. “They didn’t want me to shoot the ball. I just said, fuck it. I just took the ball with me to the timeout and I kept the ball the whole time. They didn’t say nothing. They just didn’t want me to shoot the ball.”
The fact that neither Warriors player said anything and that Tatum understood what they were doing, is probably why the incident didn’t escalate and didn’t lead to any technical fouls.
Overall, the series has been mostly without extracurriculars, aside from Draymond Green mixing it up in Game 2. That will probably continue in Game 6 with Boston’s season on the line, and the Celtics not able to afford having a player get kicked out with the margin for error so low.