Jaylen Brown on Confronting Caleb Martin: 'Got My Guy's Back'

May 29, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) blocks Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin.
May 29, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) blocks Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin. / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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In the final minute of the Celtics' 114-94 Game 1 win over the Heat, Caleb Martin, pursuing a Bam Adebayo missed jump shot, came crashing into Jayson Tatum. The collision resulted in a hard fall braced by the parquet as the star forward landed on his back.

That prompted Jaylen Brown to come to his teammates' defense, getting in Martin's face about the incident. That confrontation drew a technical on the two, and Tatum, who quickly popped up and went to the other end of the floor to take his free throws, returning to dap up the other half of Boston's star tandem.

After Miami's series-opening loss, Martin, sharing his perspective on the matter, stated, “Obviously, I knew I hit him pretty hard, but momentum was carrying me. I didn't think I got pushed into that direction. But, hard foul. Tried to pick him up. It's just what it is. (If) Jimmy (Butler) was on the floor, I'm sure I would have done the same thing, I'm sure. It's just what it is."

As for Tatum's view of what transpired:

“Just understanding it's playoff basketball," Tatum said. "It's a physical game. Playing against a physical team. (Expletive is) going to happen. It's not the last time I'm probably going to get hit like that or fouled in this series. So, you know, I wasn’t hurt. You get hit like that, you just get up. And I knew we (were) in the bonus. So, go down there and knock the free throws down."

According to a report from Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, the NBA is not upgrading Martin's foul to a flagrant or a suspension.

On Tuesday at the Auerbach Center, Brown conveyed the following about what spurred him to confront Martin:

"I just told him to watch that, you know, making sure it's basketball plays being made out there. We know they like to play hard and be physical, but there is a line. So, just making sure that we're not compromising the integrity of the game. So, I just told him to watch it. At the time, it looked like — can't tell all of the components, but from what I saw – that's all I did. I just let them know that."

The two-time All-Star, who finished with 17 points and eight rebounds in the Celtics' Game 1 win, also addressed whether he thought the hard foul was intentional or if he was reacting to seeing a teammate take a hard fall.

"I seen a guy go down, and you know, I got my guy’s back ten times out of ten," voiced Brown. "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."

While it was paramount to Brown to stand up for his teammate, the 2022 All-NBA Second Team selection was also pleased with how Tatum handled the matter.

"That's what it's about. We don't gotta entertain the shenanigans, but at the same time, we're not going for nothing extra (in) this series. Just be professional, doing our jobs, but making sure that we got each other's back."

With two days removed since the incident, Brown says Boston hasn't harped on the skirmish. 

"Not really. There wasn't nothing to talk about. We're more focused on just doing our job, executing, and winning the game. But, you know, a level of physicality is important to set a tone. We know what they like to do, and we want to we want to match that effort. So, that was it. Nothing really to talk about."

While the Celtics aren't spending time talking about what transpired on Sunday, Brown's actions also demonstrate an increased willingness to stand up for themselves. 

A prime example is the contrast compared to Grant Williams getting in Jimmy Butler's face in the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals last year, only to see none of his teammates have his back. 

"I would say so," stated the Marietta, Georgia native, noting Boston's increased willingness to embrace confrontation. "That's what it is. Every game is a fight. You gotta win the game and you gotta win the fight. Both of those things are important, and we embrace both. Being the better, smarter team, but also being a team that is willing to dive on the floor. Being a team that is able to set the tone physically not back down. So, you got to win the game, and you got to win the fight."

Further Reading

The Keys to Kristaps Porzingis Containing Bam Adebayo and What to Watch for in Game 2

Celtics Bench Stars in Its Role in Game 1 Win vs. Heat: 'An Identity of Our Team'

Jayson Tatum Discusses First-Career Playoff Triple-Double: 'A Beautiful Game'

Celtics Protect the Parquet in Dominant Display in Game 1 vs. Heat

Kristaps Porzingis Makes Clear What Celtics' Mindset is Entering Playoffs

How do the Heat Adapt Without Jimmy Butler? Joe Mazzulla Weighs in

'I Knew It': Jaylen Brown Discusses Celtics Drawing Heat in Round 1

Brad Stevens Addresses Potential Extension with Derrick White

Celtics Embracing Challenge to Go Beyond Most Talented

Jayson Tatum Opens Up About Sacrificing in Celtics' Title Pursuit: 'It's a Process'

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Bobby Krivitsky


Bobby Krivitsky's experiences include covering the NBA as a credentialed reporter for Basketball Insiders. He's also a national sports talk host for SportsMap Radio, a network airing on 96 radio stations throughout the country. Additionally, he was a major-market host, update anchor, and producer for IMG Audio, and he worked for Bleacher Report as an NFL and NBA columnist.