BOSTON -- The Celtics are done playing the Heat in the regular season. But if the two teams meet in the playoffs, Jaylen Brown and Duncan Robinson assured that the Boston-Miami rivalry will remain red hot.
Brown and Robinson got tangled up in the fourth quarter of Boston's 110-106 win in Miami on Sunday, leading to an on-court altercation between the two players. It was your typical NBA altercation with a lot of words and not a lot of action, but both players made it clear after the game that they do not like each other.
The incident occurred midway through the fourth quarter with the Celtics nursing a 9-point lead. In an attempt to keep Brown from getting to a Derrick White pass, Robinson wrapped up Brown's arm and didn't let go. Robinson was called for a foul on the play, but Brown took exception when Robinson didn't let go after the whistle.
Still tangled, Brown sent Robinson to the ground, though Robinson did a fine acting job to really sell Brown's shove.
It was a dangerous play on both sides, and following a quick review, Brown was hit with a flagrant 1 foul. But the exchange continued when Brown and Robinson had a few words for each other as Robinson went to the free throw line, and the two had to be separated.
There was a lot more juice to the contest after the Brown-Robinson altercation, as the Celtics had to hold off a late flurry by the Heat. Neither side had cooled down much as Brown and Robinson each stated their case after the game.
"He knew what he was doing there, trying to get tangled up and trying to draw -- I don't know what he was trying to do, but I bet he won't do it again," Brown said of Robinson.
"I just thought it was a dirty play, to be honest with you. You know, that's how people miss entire seasons," said Robinson, via Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. "Just thought it was dangerous, unnecessary and excessive."
Brown pointed the finger at Robinson, whom he said wanted to get tangled up "because he didn't want to play defense." Robinson isn't the best defender, and usually makes up for his deficiencies by getting extra handsy and pushy on that end of the floor. By the time Robinson latched on to Brown's arm, the Celtics' All-Star had had enough of his antics.
Brown also took a shot at "Heat Culture," which Celtics fans are plenty familiar with dating back to the days of Dwyane Wade sending Rajon Rondo hard to the floor.
"Miami's known for being physical," Brown said. "Miami's known for getting away with a lot of that stuff, kind of mucking up the game. At the end of the day, you've got to protect and own your space."
Boston head coach Joe Mazzulla said that he loved the altercation and the "friction" and "passion" it brought out in Brown.
"It was beautiful," Mazzulla said of the entire episode.
The incident certainly added another layer to the Celtics-Heat rivalry. Boston ended up wining all three regular season meetings against the Heat, and improved to 41-12 with Sunday's win. If the two sides do meet again, it won't come until the postseason, which would have brought plenty of friction anyways after the Heat upset the Celtics in last year's Eastern Conference Finals.
If the two sides end up meeting again in a few months, the Brown-Robinson incident will only add more fuel to an already stoked fire.
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