Jayson Tatum accomplished an NBA career first Monday night, but this milestone will prove costly.
The Celtics forward earned his first career ejection with 3:46 remaining in the fourth quarter of Boston's game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden after picking up his second technical foul for arguing with an official.
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Tatum's first tech came near the end of the third quarter when he thought he was fouled on a dunk and let a referee hear about it. In the fourth quarter, he complained to an official after claiming Julius Randle fouled him on a 3-point attempt and continued that complaint on New York's next possession, eventually getting the hook from referee JB DeRosa.
Tatum stood by his stance when asked about the technicals after the game -- while adding a hefty dose of sarcasm.
"The first one, no call. If you look, it was clearly a foul," Tatum told reporters. "And those are the ones that's tough. You get a tech for something that you probably was right about.
"Second one, I just told him this was probably the best officiated game I’ve been a part of. Tried to give him a compliment, and didn't go over so well."
But did you really try to compliment him, Jayson?
"I said it was the best-officiated game I've been a part of. I meant it," Tatum responded with a smile.
Players usually don't get ejected for giving compliments, so we'd imagine Tatum mixed in some more colorful language in his message to the official.
The ejection was part of a frustrating night for the Celtics star, who tallied just 14 points on 6 of 18 shooting (1 for 9 from 3-point range) while shooting just one free throw in Boston's 109-94 loss. After the game, Tatum suggested his lack of foul calls was retribution for referees missing his foul on LeBron James in the Celtics' Jan. 28 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Tatum could be hit with a fine for his ejection and postgame comments, but the 24-year-old said he's taking a silver lining from Monday's incident.
"All the great players get thrown out a few times in their career," Tatum said. "So, it's good for my rep."