Boston Celtics

Horford not happy with Adebayo's flagrant foul: ‘I was just mad'

"Thankfully JT is fine, but it could have been bad."

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The Boston Celtics took a 3-1 series lead over the Miami Heat on Monday night thanks to a 102-88 win fueled by Derrick White's 38-point scoring barrage, but it came at a cost.

After a Kristaps Porzingis suffered a non-contact injury in the first half and didn't return, Jayson Tatum narrowly avoided a severe ankle injury on a questionable play after the whistle from Bam Adebayo.

Following a foul call on Miami's Patty Mills, Tatum attempted a shot after the whistle. Adebayo stepped in to contest the shot, putting his foot in Tatum's landing space. When Tatum came down, he landed on Adebayo's foot, twisting his left ankle and falling to the floor.

Adebayo was issued a Flagrant 1 foul for the play after the whistle, but it still left team veteran Al Horford upset.

"I know that we get to playing around and trying to contest shots after fouls and things like that, but there's levels to contest," Horford told the media after the win, as seen in the video player above. "If a guy is shooting and the play is over with, just let him be."

Defenders stepping into a shooter's landing area has been more of a concern in recent years, with officials often making it a point to call fouls on such plays in hopes of preventing dangerous plays from occurring and limiting injuries on the court.

"I know he's trying to compete over there, but I was just mad," Horford said of Adebayo and the play that almost injured Boston's star player. "I don't want to see any of my guys get hurt or anything like that, so thankfully JT is fine, but it could have been bad."

Tatum appreciated how Horford came to his defense by bumping Adebayo after Tatum fell to the floor.

"That’s the OG," Tatum said of Horford after the game. "We’re all on the team together. We’re all brothers. So, right or wrong, you’ve gotta rock with your brother. And that’s what we do. If we see something we don’t like, whatever it is, we stand up for each other. And it’s contagious."

With Porzingis out with a calf injury -- the big man since has provided a hopeful update -- Horford stepped up with his extra minutes, logging seven points on an efficient 3-of-5 from the field, additionally tallying eight rebounds, two assists, and a steal.

Now with a 3-1 series lead over the Heat, the Celtics will look to close out the first round of the playoffs back home in Boston on Wednesday night in Game 5, with NBC Sports Boston's coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET and tip-off set for 7:30 p.m. ET with Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine on the call.

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