Tensions simmered during the Celtics’ 101-93 Game 4 loss to the Cavaliers at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon.
There was one dislocated shoulder, one skirmish, one blow to the head, one ejection, and 63 personal fouls.
With 5:22 left in the opening quarter, Cavaliers forward Kevin Love and Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk tangled while chasing for a rebound, and Olynyk appeared to clasp down on Love’s left arm. Love immediately ran off the court and into the locker room.
That play set the tone for another physical game between these two teams.
With 1:44 left in the second quarter, Kendrick Perkins went to set a screen on Jae Crowder, and instead shoved him to the floor with two hands.
Crowder leapt to his feet, and as the two were being separated Perkins slapped Crowder in the face. Perkins received a flagrant 1 foul and both players received technical fouls.
Perkins is known as an enforcer and had played just two minutes during the entire series before Sunday, and so there will be questions about whether he was brought in to retaliate for Olynyk’s play against Love.
Then with 10:24 left in the third quarter, the physical play took another ugly turn.
Cleveland guard J.R. Smith and Crowder were tussling in the post when Smith swung his arm and hit Crowder in the face.
Crowder was on the floor for a couple of minutes before being helped to the locker room. He suffered a left knee sprain.
Smith received a flagrant 2 foul and was ejected. He said after the game he is nervous about possible discipline from the league.
J.R. Smith on potentially being suspended: "I'm nervous as hell"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 26, 2015
After the game, Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving said it was the “most physical game that I’ve ever played in.”
Follow Adam Himmelsbach on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.