Miami Herald

Incident between Robinson, Brown adds to heated Heat-Celtics history

- BY ANTHONY CHIANG achiang@miamiheral­

For those wondering, the rivalry between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics is alive and well.

That shouldn’t be a surprise, considerin­g they have faced off in the Eastern Conference finals in three of the past four seasons. The core of both teams has remained relatively intact throughout that stretch.

But in case a reminder was needed, the clubs provided one Sunday in the 53rd game of the season for both teams when the Celtics defeated the short-handed Heat 110106 at Kaseya Center.

“It was just competitiv­e basketball being played out there,” Celtics star Jayson Tatum said.

Despite starting the game without star Jimmy Butler because of a death in his family and then losing guards Josh Richardson and Terry Rozier to injuries, the Heat remained within striking distance to make it a onepossess­ion game in the final minutes against the team with the NBA’s best record. But after the Heat pulled within two points with 1:49 to play, the Celtics scored the next four points to lead by six with 14.6 seconds remaining and seal the win.

“I thought our group showed a tremendous amount of grit in that second half,” coach Erik Spoelstra said ahead of back-to-back road games against Milwaukee on Tuesday and Philadelph­ia on Wednesday. “There were a lot of things that weren’t necessaril­y going our way, including the injuries and then down

10. To really claw and fight back and get this game on the ropes, I think it was a credit to how hard our guys were playing.”

The historic animosity between the teams showed itself with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Forward Duncan Robinson, on defense, and Celtics forwards Jaylen Brown were fighting for position near the threepoint line when Brown attempted to catch an entry pass from guard Derrick White.

Robinson was called for a foul after he and Brown, worked to gain position on a post-up, got tangled up.

Once the foul was called, Brown forcefully pulled his arm through Robinson’s arm in an apparent attempt to separate himself from Robinson. But, in the process, Brown yanked Robinson’s arm and tossed him into the courtside seats.

Brown was called for a

Flagrant 1 foul “for the action to the arm of Robinson after the whistle.”

Robinson suffered a left shoulder/elbow sprain and is questionab­le for Tuesday’s game.

“I just thought it was a dirty play, to be honest with you,” Robinson said. “That’s how people miss entire seasons . ... Those types of plays, you’ve seen them before throughout the history of the NBA. Guys suffer really bad injuries from instances exactly like that. So I just thought it was dangerous, unnecessar­y and excessive.”

Brown said he saw no issue with what he did, instead blaming Robinson.

“I think he knew exactly what he was trying to do. Trying to get tangled up, etc., because he didn’t want to play defense,” said Brown, who, like Robinson is represente­d by agent

Jason Glushon. “They called a foul, but he was still trying to hang on. So I was trying to get my arm free.”

Robinson and Brown then exchanged words near the free-throw line before Robinson shot two free throws for the flagrant foul. The two needed to be separated by teammates and the officials.

Boston coach Joe Mazzulla called the verbal altercatio­n “tremendous,” saying that the Celtics “need to have a certain level of friction in moments.”

“Miami is known for being physical,” Brown continued. “Miami is known for getting away with a lot of that stuff, trying to muck up the game. At the end of the day, you got to protect and own your space.

“I feel like Duncan

Robinson knew what he was doing there, trying to get tangled up and trying to draw whatever he was trying to do. But I bet he won’t do it again.”

Heat center Bam Adebayo, who is friends with Brown and Tatum, said after the game that he stood by his teammate.

“I feel like I agree with Duncan,” Adebayo said. “He felt like it was a dirty play. I’m not going against my teammate. That’s what it is. I stand behind my teammates 100 percent.”

What’s that balance like for Adebayo, who knows Brown off the court but has been Robinson’s teammate since 2018?

“Listen, if you’re in a Miami Heat jersey and

I’m on your team, I don’t give a [expletive] what’s happening,” a passionate Adebayo said. “If action happens, we’re with the action. No questions asked, there’s no second guessing, I’m with it.

“Obviously, some dudes are my homies on the other team. But in between them lines, they don’t care about us and we don’t care about you. I don’t talk to you before the game, I don’t look at you. After that buzzer goes off and we can’t do anything else that affects the game, it might be a what’s up.

“But other than that, nah, that rivalry still stands. They remember what we did to them in Game 7 on their home court. So for us, man, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. I’m riding with my team.”

Adebayo was referring to the Heat’s Game 7 win at Boston in last season’s East finals. With that victory, the Heat became the just the second No. 8 seed in league history to reach the NBA Finals.


New York Philadelph­ia Brooklyn Toronto Southeast

Orlando Miami Atlanta Charlotte Washington Central

Cleveland Milwaukee Indiana Chicago Detroit


New Orleans Dallas Houston Memphis San Antonio Northwest

Minnesota Oklahoma City Denver


Portland Pacific

L.A. Clippers Phoenix Sacramento L.A. Lakers Golden State

36 36 36 26 15 W

16 17 17 27 37


.692 .679 .679 .491 .288



Miami at Milwaukee, 8

Boston at Brooklyn, 7:30

Oklahoma City at Orlando, 7:30 Minnesota at Portland, 10 Sacramento at Phoenix, 10

Detroit at L.A. Lakers, 10:30


Indiana at Charlotte

Philadelph­ia at Cleveland

Chicago at Atlanta

San Antonio at Toronto

New York at Houston

New Orleans at Memphis

Denver at Milwaukee

Washington at Dallas

Golden State at Utah

Minnesota at L.A. Clippers


Boston 110, Miami 106

Oklahoma City 127, Sacramento 113

But Sunday’s win gave the Celtics a 3-0 sweep of the regular-season series, Boston’s first such sweep of Miami since the 201617 campaign. And while the Heat is in play-in tournament territory for the second straight season in eighth place in the East at 28-25, the Celtics are first in the conference at 41-12.

Anthony Chiang: 305-376-4991, @Anthony_Chiang

101⁄2 21 GB

 ?? D.A. VARELA dvarela@miamiheral­ ?? Duncan Robinson, left, had an altercatio­n late in the game with Boston’s Jaylen Brown. Here, Robinson and Haywood Highsmith double-team the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum.
D.A. VARELA dvarela@miamiheral­ Duncan Robinson, left, had an altercatio­n late in the game with Boston’s Jaylen Brown. Here, Robinson and Haywood Highsmith double-team the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum.

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