The Boston Celtics picked up their ninth win in a row on Saturday night, taking down the Toronto Raptors by a score of 106-104. It was a hard-fought contest throughout the entirety of the game, but Boston pulled off the victory thanks to Al Horford’s late-game heroics.
He won two jump balls in a row and then proceeded to make the game-winning steal, stripping Pascal Siakam on Toronto’s final possession. After the game, however, Nick Nurse spoke about an incident when he tried to challenge a jump ball, but the referees caused a ton of confusion.
“I asked the referee if I could challenge he said, ‘If you take a timeout you can,’ and I said, ‘Okay, timeout,’” Nurse explained via CLNS Media. “And then Ed Malloy came over and said, ‘You can’t challenge a jump ball,’ and I said, ‘Okay, no timeout.’ And the original referee, Michael Smith, said, ‘You’re taking your timeout, you called it.’ I said, ‘I asked you if I could challenge.’ So, that was, it turned into being a jump ball strategy timeout, but it was meant to be a challenge timeout… Very disappointing administering of that at the end.”
The situation occurred on the first jump ball won by Horford. The Celtics big man got tied up with Siakam on a drive, and the referees called a jump ball. However, Nurse and his staff believed that it wasn’t a jump ball. As noted by Nurse, he asked a referee if he could challenge, but after getting a yes, he got denied and was still forced to take the timeout.
In turn, he wasn’t able to use the timeout when the Raptors got the ball back with a little more than three seconds left on the clock. That’s when Horford stripped Siakam, earning Boston the win. Needless to say, Nurse was very unhappy with the way things played out in the final minutes of the contest.
Pascal Siakam Calls Out Al Horford
In addition to Nurse’s disappointment, Siakam was also not pleased with the way that possession was called. When Horford stripped him, forcing a jump ball, he thought he was fouled. He said as much after the game when he called out Horford for using “a lot of hands.”
“To be honest, I don’t know,” Siakam said via CLNS Media. “To me, it felt like it was a lot of hands. [It] could have went either way. I thought it was a foul, but again, it wasn’t called. And I got the ball back, and I thought it [was] still in play. But I didn’t get it.”
Injury Updates on Marcus Smart & Robert Williams
That wasn’t the only drama from Boston’s game against the Raptors, though. Both Marcus Smart and Robert Williams went down with injuries and were ruled out at halftime. However, after the game, head coach Joe Mazzulla provided positive updates on both players, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic.
“Joe Mazzulla said Rob Williams hyperextended his knee but it’s nothing serious. Marcus Smart’s knee is fine, but his rolled ankle will be a day-to-day issue at this point per Mazzulla,” Weiss tweeted.