Ime Udoka was called for a technical foul in during the Celtics’ frustrating third quarter of their NBA Finals Game 2 loss to the Warriors on Sunday — and that was exactly what he wanted.
Trailing by two to start the second half, the Celtics were in a double-digit hole less than four minutes into the third due to missed shots and turnovers. Boston was able to trade points with Golden State for a couple of minutes until Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart were whistled for non-shooting fouls on Steph Curry in the same possession. It put the Warriors into the bonus with nearly seven minutes remaining in the quarter.
On the Celtics’ ensuing possession, as Smart and Curry jostled for position on an inbounds play, Celtics coach Ime Udoka twice said something to the officials. He was quickly whistled up.
When asked about the technical after the game, Udoka made himself quite clear:
“I just let them l know I felt, throughout the game, in a demonstrative way, on purpose, to get a technical,” he said.
Celtics veteran Al Horford wasn’t surprised by Udoka’s decision.
“I could see that coming a mile away. That whole first half …” Horford said with a sigh, “was definitely different. We knew it was going to be different. We just kind of wanted to stay the course. It is what it is. On to Game 3.”
Jayson Tatum also had something to say about the officiating in Game 2, and particularly had a problem with how the referees called (or didn’t call) Warriors forward Draymond Green.
“We know what Draymond brings to the game, obviously I played with him. We tried to match that,” Tatum said. “I just kind of felt that we weren’t getting the benefit of the doubt. We were trying to play with that physicality.”
Any spark the Celtics got following Udoka’s technical — they actually went on a 6-0 run — quickly fizzled.
The Warriors went on a 19-2 run from that point until the end of the third quarter, giving them an 87-64 lead going into the fourth. They won, 107-88.
Game 3 is on Wednesday at TD Garden.
Read more Celtics stories
- Tara Sullivan: The Celtics should have expected the Warriors to respond, and they should be happy with a split on the road
- Instant analysis: Another awful third quarter does Celtics in, and other observations as Warriors even up NBA Finals
- How it happened: Celtics collapse in third quarter, lose Game 2 of NBA Finals to Warriors, 107-88