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Jayson Tatum was a little too excited over Jaylen Brown's dagger 3 against Cavs

BOSTON -- The Celtics won their first close game of the postseason Monday night, though they shouldn't get too many brownie points for nearly letting a 15-point lead slip away to an undermanned Cavs team in the fourth quarter. But given the fight they had to put up in Cleveland, emotions were running pretty high at the end of the contest.

Maybe a little too high for Jayson Tatum, and teammate Jaylen Brown was the one to feel his wrath. Tatum fed Brown for a dagger three-pointer with just over a minute to go, putting the Celtics on top 105-97, and Tatum's celebration may have left Brown a little bruised. 

The Celtics were a bucket away from putting the Cavaliers away for much of the final minutes, but went over five minutes without hitting a shot from the floor. A Tatum jumper with 2:49 left gave Boston a 102-95 edge, but an Al Horford goaltend on a Caris LeVert layup attempt made it a five-point game again.

Things got tense when Brown missed a jumper and Max Strus, who hit five threes on the night, put up a shot from downtown on Cleveland's ensuing possession with 1:29 left. But the thorn in the C's side missed, and fouled out on a loose-ball foul right after. That let the Celtics set up a play, and they took advantage.

Brown buried his three off a nice find from Tatum -- his fifth assist on the night to go with 33 points and 11 rebounds -- despite having official Tyler Ford in his way as he tried to get to his spot. Brown was too busy yelling at Ford to celebrate his big bucket, so Tatum decided to lead the party patrol.

His celebration? Smacking Brown in the chest. Hard. A little too hard, maybe. Brown looked pretty stunned in the moment, but quickly shrugged it off and got back to yelling at Ford.

But after the Celtics walked off the floor with a 109-102 win, Brown made it sound like Tatum should keep his head on a swivel over the next few days.

"Yeah, I'm going to get Jayson back for that," said Brown, who scored 27 points for Boston. "I wasn't paying no attention and he comes out of nowhere with a left hook straight to the chest. I'm gonna get him back for that."  

"I didn't realize how hard I hit him. I've been lifting a lot lately," Tatum joked. "Just a high intensity game. I drove, they helped, he hit a big shot. I was hype." 

It's hard to blame Tatum for getting so "hype." The Celtics haven't had to fight for a win like this all postseason, and Monday night's victory put them up 3-1 over the Cavs. Boston will have a chance to close the series out Wednesday night at TD Garden.

Brown really wasn't too mad at Tatum for his overzealous celebratory smack. But he was still pretty miffed at Ford for getting in his way on his game-sealing three.

"I don't think he was paying attention. He was like, in the play," Brown said of Ford. "So as I'm lifting up, I bumped into him. I had to push him away, catch the ball, and then was able to knock down the shot. But he was like an extra defender right there because he was in the way. So I was telling him to like, get his [butt] out of the way.

"I guess he didn't know what I was talking about. But I'm lifting on that wing, and as I'm coming up I bump into Tyler on the floor," continued Brown. "On a possession of importance like that, it makes a big difference, bumping into the official while trying to get the spacing and get an open look. He's gotta be more aware, I thought.

"But it's all good," Brown concluded. "The shot went in and we won the game, so it's probably a non-story."

At least Tatum's smack wasn't for nothing. Now Celtics fans (and Tatum) will wait to see how Brown gets back at his teammate. If Tatum hits a big bucket on Wednesday night, he may want to watch his back -- or chest. 

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