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Grant Williams on Jayson Tatum ejection: ‘referee the game, not your emotions’

The Celtics forward picked up a technical of his own amidst a comedy of errors in the third quarter.

Boston Celtics v Toronto Raptors Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics wrapped up their preseason schedule on Friday night, losing to the Toronto Raptors in overtime, 137-134. The game was a slog, as both teams combined to shoot 81 free throws. It was the second overtime game the two teams played against each other this preseason.

However, the main spectacle of the game had nothing to do with actual basketball. Instead, it was the comedy of errors that occurred at the end of the third quarter.

Jayson Tatum, who had already picked up a technical earlier in the game, got called for a foul against Scottie Barnes. Disagreeing with the call, Tatum waved off the referee and walked away, which was enough to earn another technical, resulting in his ejection from the game.

Grant Williams and Blake Griffin immediately began bargaining with the referees, but Williams took it a step too far. He grew a bit too aggressive and ended up getting a technical of his own.

And during all the madness, Tatum never realized that he got ejected. When he did find out, he stood on the side of the court in disbelief. Unfortunately for Tatum, he stood there for a bit too long and picked up a delay of game. That was Boston’s second of the game, meaning they had gotten a third technical foul.

It was a truly bizarre occurrence, especially for a preseason game. Williams recalled both Tatum techs, explaining what he did to earn them.

“JT got a tech for I guess slamming the ball,” Williams said told NBC Sports Boston. “He said ‘that’s BS,’ or something simple — something that you normally don’t get a tech for. Then, that was a tech...I guess JT waved him off, got ejected.”

Williams also revealed that he told the referee to “referee the game, not your emotions,” which is what earned him a technical foul of his own.

Since it was only preseason, the ejection doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Tatum finished 10th in the NBA last season with 14 technical fouls, and complaining to the referees was normal for him last year.

During his recollection, Williams also mentioned that the Celtics don’t plan on holding a grudge. He emphasized the fact that it was just a preseason game, but also that they need to do a better job of controlling themselves.

“It’s preseason, so it’s one of those things you can’t get mad at officials for that,” Williams said. “We’re not taking this forward. We’re not looking at those plays. It doesn’t really matter all that much — preseason game. We just got to control our emotions better, and then we got to do a better job understanding the situations.”

Williams picked up five technical fouls of his own last year and became known for his animated discussions with the referees. He said that the Celtics should use this incident as a learning experience moving forward.

“In that scenario, we got to do a better job getting JT off the floor, and I got to do a better job just holding my tongue and not making comments,” Williams explained. “It’s what preseason’s all about: you got to learn and understand you’re going to make mistakes. I think that’s something we’ll improve on and not carry over into the regular season.”

Boston begins their season at home on Monday night against the Philadelphia 76ers at 7:30 p.m. EST.

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