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Why Jaylen Brown seemed upset after a shot in the Celtics’ Game 4 victory


Brown claimed one of the officials bumped into him before hitting a three-pointer with just over a minute to play.

Jaylen Brown Celtics

Jaylen Brown approached official Tyler Ford after making a shot during the Celtics’ Game 4 victory. Danielle Parhizkaran/Globe Staff

Jaylen Brown made the biggest shot in the Celtics’ 109-102 win over the Cavaliers in Game 4, hitting a 3-pointer with just over a minute left to put them up by eight.

Even though the shot was a game-sealing dagger, Brown didn’t react accordingly. The Celtics star wing appeared upset, pointing as he walked toward the Cavaliers bench before being restrained and pulled back by his teammates and coaching staff.

It turned out that Brown’s problem didn’t concern anyone on the Cavaliers. Instead, he took exception to the fact that official Tyler Ford appeared to bump into him earlier in possession as he tried to get open.

“Tyler, the official running down the sideline, I don’t think he was paying attention, but he was like in the game,” Brown said. “As I stood up I ran into him first, I had to push him to catch the ball so I could knock the shot over. He was like an extra defender right there because he was getting in the way, that’s why I was talking, telling him to get his (expletive) out of the way.

Brown posted a screenshot of the play in an Instagram Story after Monday’s game, where it appears Ford made contact with him just a moment before receiving Jayson Tatum’s pass.

After the shot was made, Brown made a motion with his arm to signal that he should push Ford aside while he spoke to the official.

“I guess he didn’t know what I was talking about, but I thought he had an effect on the game,” Brown said. “I’m going to have to watch him but I’m lifting because I wanted to get some space JT and I’m lifting on that wing and as I was coming up I came across Tyler on the floor. On such a big possession, it makes a big difference, running into the official while you’re trying to get spacing and getting an open look. You must be conscious, I thought, but everything is fine. Shot goes in, we win the game so probably a non-story.

The bucket was Brown’s last of the night, giving him 27 points in the victory. It also ended a drought for the Celtics offense, who made just one shot in the seven minutes preceding that. Tatum expressed so much joy that he punched Brown hard enough in the chest during his celebration that his teammate grimaced as he spoke to Ford.

“I’ll get Jayson for that too,” Brown said with a smirk. “I wasn’t paying any attention and he comes out of nowhere with a left hook, straight to the chest. I’ll get it back for that.

Tatum also joked about the moment, expressing some remorse.

“I didn’t realize how hard I hit him,” Tatum told reporters. “I’ve been lifting a lot lately.”

Regardless of how things played out, Brown made his final shot of the game and the Celtics returned to Boston with a 3-1 series lead. They will have their first chance to punch a ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals for a third straight season on Wednesday, when they host the Cavaliers for Game 5.


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