May 28, 2024

 Raptors Respond to Joe Mazzulla’s Late-Game Prompt: “You Must Not Belittle Us”Joe Mazzulla's move late in the game upsets Raptors - The Boston Globe

The Toronto Raptors were not happy with Joe Mazzulla’s decision to challenge a call in Saturday’s blowout loss to the Boston Celtics

In the NBA, there may be unwritten rules about sportsmanship during blowouts, but the Boston Celtics don’t exactly follow them.

With 3:39 remaining in the fourth quarter and a 27-point lead, Boston’s out-of-bounds call was contested by Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla. To be fair, he was correct, and after a little pause, the call was reversed.

The Toronto Raptors, however, weren’t content.

While the review was going on, Raptors coach Darko Rajaković confronted the Celtics coach, Mazzulla, to let him know.

By then, all sides had used up all of their bench players and, aside from Mazzulla, were merely attempting to finish the game as soon as possible. However, Mazzulla saw it as an opportunity to reassure his bench players that he will continue to guide them even if the game gets out of control.

“I believe that my primary duty is to my players, and this was an obvious chance for me to empower them—to let them know that I’m their coach and those minutes are as important to me as the game’s opening kickoff,” he said to reporters after the game.

When asked about the incident after the game, Rajaković gave a flat “no comment,” indicating that he was not willing to talk about his run-in with Mazzulla.

Although he acknowledged he wouldn’t have challenged the call if he had been in Mazzulla’s position, Jakob Poeltl stated he didn’t give a damn about the challenge.

Dennis Schröder, a former Celtic who trained under Mazzulla during Mazzula’s tenure as Boston’s assistant coach in 2021–2022, expressed the greatest disappointment with the ruling.

You aren’t supposed to challenge anything until you are 30. Three minutes remain. You’ve won,” he informed Gary Washburn. “You shouldn’t treat us with such disrespect.”

The Celtics will visit Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Friday night, so it won’t be long before the teams play again.

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