Why Jaylen Brown seemed upset after shot in Celtics’ Game 4 win


Brown claimed that one of the officials bumped into him prior to hitting a 3-pointer with just over a minute left.

Jaylen Brown Celtics
Jaylen Brown approached official Tyler Ford after hitting a shot in the Celtics’ Game 4 win. Danielle Parhizkaran/Globe Staff

Jaylen Brown hit the biggest shot in the Celtics’ 109-102 win over the Cavaliers in Game 4, drilling a 3-pointer with just over a minute left to put them up by eight.

While the shot was a game-sealing dagger, Brown didn’t react accordingly. The Celtics star wing appeared to be upset, pointing as he walked toward the Cavaliers’ bench before being restrained and pulled back by his teammates and coaching staff.

It turned out that Brown’s issue wasn’t with anyone on the Cavaliers. Rather, he took exception to official Tyler Ford appearing to bump into him earlier in the possession as he tried to get open.

“Tyler, the official who was running down the sideline, I don’t think he was paying attention but he was like, in the play,” Brown said. “As I’m lifting up, I got bumped into him first, I had to push him out the way to catch the ball to be able to knock down the shot. He was like an extra defender right there because he was in the way so that’s why I was talking, telling him to get his [expletive] out the way.”

Brown posted a screenshot of the play in an Instagram story following Monday’s game, where it appears that Ford made contact with him just a moment prior to receiving the pass from Jayson Tatum.

Following the made shot, Brown made a motion with his arm to signal that he had to move Ford out of the way as he spoke to the official.

“I guess he didn’t know what I was talking about but I thought he had an effect on the play,” Brown said. “I’ll have to watch it but, I’m lifting because I wanted to get JT space and I’m lifting on that wing and as I’m coming up, I bumped into Tyler on the floor. On a possession of importance like that, that makes a big difference, bumping into the official while you’re trying to get the spacing and get an open look. You gotta be aware I thought, but it’s all good. The shot went in, we win the game so probably a non-story.”

The bucket was Brown’s final one of the night, giving him 27 points in the win. It also ended a dry spell for the Celtics’ offense as they only made one shot in the near-seven minutes prior to that. Tatum expressed such a good deal of joy that he whacked Brown hard enough in the chest in his celebration that his teammate winced as he was speaking to Ford.

“I’m going to get Jayson back for that, too,” Brown said with a smirk. “I wasn’t paying no attention and he just comes out of nowhere with a left hook, straight to the chest. I’m going to get him back for that.”

Tatum joked about the moment too, expressing some remorse.

“I didn’t realize how hard I hit him,” Tatum told reporters. “I’ve been lifting a lot lately.”

Regardless of how things went down on the play, Brown made his final shot of the game, and the Celtics head back to Boston with a 3-1 series lead. They’ll get their first chance to clinch a ticket to the Eastern Conference finals for a third straight season on Wednesday, when they host the Cavaliers for Game 5.

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