Boston Celtics

Buddy Hield's mini-feud with Celtics' coaching staff, explained

"He was form shooting in front of our bench."

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When you play the same team five times in one season, things are bound to get a little testy.

That testiness started in the first quarter of the Boston Celtics' final meeting with the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday at TD Garden.

After an early Pacers timeout, Indy's Buddy Hield picked up the ball and took a shot on the Celtics' basket before heading to his bench. According to reporters at the Garden, C's assistant coach Sam Cassell took exception to Hield getting extra shots up and actually ran onto the court to try to block another Hield attempt.

Later in the first half, Hield took another shot on Boston's basket after the whistle, leading to another jawing session with the Celtics' coaching staff, per The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn.

The Celtics got the last laugh by holding on for a 129-124 win, and head coach Joe Mazzulla didn't seem to have an issue with Hield's extracirriculars.

"Etiquette? It's not a country club," Mazzulla said when asked about the etiquette of players shooting after the whistle. "The rule is, we're supposed to go block it. That's the rule. That's the etiquette. We're supposed to block shots when the other team shoots at our basket. That's the rule.

"He was form shooting in front of our bench, so I was waiting for him to go take a shot, and I would have blocked it myself, but he didn't shoot it. He was form shooting."

At the 50-second mark in the video player above, you can see Cassell and Hield jawing at each other during a timeout as Hield heads back to the Pacers' bench, with referee Zach Zarba trying to keep the peace. But Mazzulla insisted there was no bad blood between Hield and the Celtics.

"It was great-natured," Mazzulla added. "Buddy Hield is a great guy. He’s a great-natured guy. Remember, he’s the same guy who admitted to his fault at the end of the other game, remember that? So, he’s a really good guy."

Mazzulla was referring to Hield owning up to a foul he committed on Jaylen Brown in the closing seconds of the teams' Jan. 8 matchup, which went uncalled in the Pacers' narrow win.

Mazzulla is fiercely competitive, and Cassell is a former teammate of ex-Celtics star Kevin Garnett, who made a habit of swatting opponents' shots after the whistle. So, we probably shouldn't be surprised by Tuesday's back-and-forth, even if it was more about spirited competition than any real animosity.

Tuesday's win gave the Celtics a 3-2 season series victory over the Pacers, but it would be quite entertaining if these teams met again in the postseason.

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