Boston Celtics

Tatum responds to Adebayo's questionable post-whistle foul

The Heat defender was given a Flagrant 1 foul for his actions.

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With just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of the Boston Celtics' 102-88 Game 4 win over the Miami Heat, star player Jayson Tatum appeared to twist his ankle while landing on Bam Adebayo's foot in a questionable post-whistle play.

Boston held a 91-78 lead at the time when Patty Mills was called for a defensive foul for pushing Derrick White while he was attempting to set a screen on Adebayo for Tatum, who had the ball at the top of the key.

Right after the whistle was blown, Tatum put up a shot attempt, and Adebayo quickly stepped toward Tatum in an attempt to deflect the shot, sticking his right foot in Tatum's landing space. Tatum's left foot landed on Adebayo, causing his ankle to bend before hitting the floor.

Tatum remained on the floor in pain for a while, grasping his ankle as the officials reviewed the play. Adebayo was later issued a Flagrant 1 foul.

After an earlier non-contact injury took Kristaps Porzingis out of the game, an injury to Tatum could have been detrimental to Boston's title run. The Celtics star caught up with NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin following the win to discuss the play and how his ankle is feeling.

"I'm fine, I'm good," Tatum replied. "I wasn't worried about it -- move on to the next play, we still had a game to win."

Logging a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds, Tatum also notched five assists and went a perfect 8-8 from the free-throw line.

"We have to play better," Tatum added. "We have a lead, but this team is not going to give up, so we have to keep fighting, and play desperate in a way."

Tatum later noted that it was the same ankle he injured in Game 7 of last year's Eastern Conference Finals and tweaked a few times this season, but he wasn't interested in harping on the play.

"I don’t want to make it a bigger deal than what it is,” Tatum told reporters in his postgame press conference. “Little play, I wasn’t tripping, moved on, kept playing, worried about the rest of the game."

Former Celtics guard Eddie House also chimed in on the Tatum-Adebayo play in NBC Sports Boston's Celtics Postgame Live, highlighting that Tatum put aside that he and Adebayo are close personal friends to make a point that winning for his team comes first.

"You know what I took from that? It's that [Tatum] is like, 'I don't care, we are just trying to win,'" House said of Tatum's postgame comments, as seen in the video player above. "I know Bam [Adebayo] and Jayson [Tatum] played on the same AAU team, so they've known each other for a long time -- they love each other, they are brothers off the court -- but it's about getting this W and moving forward. The bigger goal is the championship -- hoisting that Larry O'Brien Trophy."

House also added that Tatum's interview shows him a new side of the superstar -- one that is more focused and locked in on the task of raising Banner 18.

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

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