Jayson Tatum explains his odd exchange with Draymond Green during Game 5

BOSTON — Monday night was a frustrating evening for the Boston Celtics. They couldn’t buy a shot early and continued to turn the ball over throughout Game 5 of the NBA Finals, leading to some easy buckets — and a somewhat easy win — for the Golden State Warriors.

The Celtics are now on the brink of elimination, which is no laughing matter. But at least there was one small moment of humor that took place on the floor of the Chase Center on Monday night.

With the Celtics down by 12 with under five minutes to go in the game, Boston head coach Ime Udoka called a timeout to try to jumpstart his team. Jayson Tatum wanted to put the ball through the hoop after the whistle, as players tend to do when there’s a break in action.

Draymond Green, however, did not want Tatum to see the ball go through the hoop. Nor did Gary Payton II. The duo of Warriors did everything they could to keep Tatum away from the basket and try to pry the ball from the Celtics forward.

But Tatum wasn’t going to just give them the ball. (The Celtics had done enough of that already.) Despite having Green barking in his face, Tatum held on to the basketball, which led to an interesting scrum in front of the Boston bench.

Draymond Green trying to steal the ball off Jayson Tatum after the whistle in Game 5 😂 by
Chaz NBA on

It really seemed like tempers would boil over as Green and Payton continued to get in Tatum’s face. But Tatum just walked away, and took the basketball with him as he sat on the Boston bench.

Tatum gave his side of the exchange after Boston’s 104-94 loss.

“In the NBA after timeouts, guys try to get shots up. They didn’t want me to shoot the ball. I just said, [expletive] it. I just took the ball with me to the timeout and I kept the ball the whole time,” explained Tatum. “They didn’t say nothing. They just didn’t want me to shoot the ball.”

Tatum had one of the better shooting evenings for the Celtics, hitting 10 of his 20 shots (and five of nine from three-point range) for a team-high 27 points. But turnovers really crushed the Celtics, as the Warriors turned 18 Boston giveaways in 22 points. 

So you can understand why Tatum wanted to hang onto the basketball at that point. 

The Celtics will look to stave off elimination when the NBA Finals shifts back to Boston for Game 6 on Thursday night.

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