Boston Celtics

Mazzulla shares surprising reaction to Tatum's ejection vs. Sixers

Mazzulla was happy to see Tatum's "fire" as the Celtics still managed to beat rival Sixers.

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A coach is expected to be upset when their star player is ejected from a close game against a conference rival, but that was not the case for Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla on Friday night.

With just seconds remaining in the third quarter of a one-point game vs. the Philadelphia 76ers, Jayson Tatum was ejected after receiving his second technical foul of the night, both coming after arguing with the refs about calls. Thankfully, the Celtics were still able to pull off the 125-119 win to remain undefeated at home this season.

Mazzulla was asked after the game about his thoughts on Tatum's ejection and his response was surprising.

"I smiled, gave him a hug, laughed it off," Mazzulla said of his first interaction with Tatum after the win.

While most coaches may be disappointed in a player's lack of discipline leaving a team short-handed, Mazzulla was thrilled to see Tatum's fire.

"I actually liked that," Mazzulla added. "I think some of that [fire] is important. Obviously, you don't want it to get to the point where it gets in the way of winning, but I think that type of passion, and caring about it -- I'll err on the side of I'd rather see that than nothing at all, you know? Sometimes you pick and choose your spots, but I'm not going to say anything [negative] to him."

Tatum exited the game with 21 points on 6-of-9 shooting, additionally logging seven rebounds, four assists, a steal, and a block. He also was responsible for seven turnovers, the third-highest total in his career,

The seventh-year superstar continues to play a crucial part in the Celtics' early success, averaging 27.4 points on 49.9 percent shooting, 8.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game.

Now on top of the NBA's standings with a 15-4 record, the Celtics resume action Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET against the Indiana Pacers in the In-Season Tournament quarterfinals, a team they have already blown out earlier in the year.

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