The Boston Celtics’ first loss of the season was denoted by much more than just the one in the losses column. It was marred by technical fouls, arguments with the referees, and two ejections – one for head coach Joe Mazzulla and one for Celtics forward Grant Williams.
While Mazzulla commented on his altercation after the game, Williams did not speak with the media. However, according to Steve Bulpett of Heavy Sports, a witness overheard Williams explaining the situation to the Celtics’ VP of Player Development and Organizational Growth, Allison Feaster.
“She asked him if he touched the referee, and he’s like, ‘I walked toward her and she was backing up, so it wasn’t like intentional. I wasn’t trying to.’ He told her, ‘I didn’t say anything. I didn’t say anything’,” the witness said, according to Bulpett.
Williams was ejected in the fourth quarter of Boston’s loss to the Chicago Bulls. He was called for a blocking foul against Zach LaVine, and in an act of disagreement, made an immediate beeline toward the sideline. In the process, he bumped into official Cheryl Flores, who ejected him from the game immediately.
He had been arguing with the referees for several plays before hand, as had the entire Celtics roster. It was a rough night, and at times, it felt as though Boston was more concerned with the officiating than the game itself.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Williams received a one-game suspension for his actions.
Mazzulla Discusses Williams Ejection
Boston’s head coach also got thrown out of the game, though his ejection game in the third quarter. When asked if he talked to Williams following his ejection, he said that they spoke, but he didn’t have much room for criticism.
“We talked. I mean, who am I to talk? But at the same time, we have to be better,” Mazzulla said.
The head coach was ejected for arguing with the officials over a non-call.
Bulls center Nikola Vucevic got called for a foul and thrashed the ball through the air as a sign he didn’t like the call. Only a few plays prior, Jayson Tatum picked up a technical for a similar motion, as he waved off a call.
When Vucevic did his motion, Tatum immediately began lobbying for a technical on him, and Mazzulla backed up his star player. Referee Marc Davis hit Mazzulla with one tech for arguing, and when he didn’t leave the court in a timely manner, he gave him another.
Mazzulla: ‘Have to Have Better Composure’
While he noted that he wasn’t cursing toward the officials, Mazzulla also admitted that he needs to have better composure in those instances.
“I just have to have better composure under the circumstances,” said Mazzulla.
That being said, Mazzulla said that he wasn’t even talking to Davis, the referee who handed him two technicals. He said that he “was just trying to get the referee’s attention” who didn’t call a technical on Vucevic.
But again, Mazzulla said that “in moments like that, when things aren’t going your way, you just have to be more composed. Do a better job.”
Technicals aside, it was an ugly night for the Celtics, and they can only hope to be better moving forward – both on the court and in their interactions with the referees.