Heat's Caleb Martin Says He 'Doesn't Need to Take Out Guys' to Beat Celtics

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum drives past Caleb Martin on the Miami Heat.
Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum drives past Caleb Martin on the Miami Heat. / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

With the Boston Celtics' large margin of victory over the Miami Heat in Sunday's Game 1, not many were focused on the score after the final buzzer. Instead, the main talking point was whether or not a late-game box out by Caleb Martin was a "dirty play."

Martin spoke about his box-out of Tatum with reporters at Tuesday's shootaround, saying that he doesn't need to try and injure opposing players to win games.

"I don't feel the need to take out guys in order to beat somebody," he said (h/t Bobby Manning). "The first thing I did was turn around and check that he was ok ... that's just not who I am ... if the roles were switched I don't think anybody would've been calling it a code red

He described the play itself as an instance of him going for a putback dunk. Unfortunately, Martin was on the receiving end of a push to the back, which sent him flying into Tatum.

"That just happened, and if anybody watched it, I clearly got pushed into him. I was going for a putback dunk and the push changed the trajectory. Stuff just happens, it's guys playing full speed ... I'd never try to hurt somebody."

Aside from fans and Brian Scalabrine, there hasn't been much finger-pointing coming from the Celtics. In fact, anyone who has discussed the play has seemingly chalked it up as something that is going to happen in a physical playoff game.

Even Jaylen Brown, who got in Martin's face to defend his teammate, described it as "just basketball."

"I seen a guy go down, and you know, I got my guy’s back ten times out of ten,"  Brown explained. "You can't tell what's what in the heat of the moment, but it looked like something a little extra. So I said something. But it looked like it was just basketball, it wasn't intentional. So we keep moving. JT gets up, goes to the other side, and knocks down some free throws."

The Celtics will be back on the parquet on Wednesday night as they host the Heat for Game 2.

Sam LaFrance