Brown disliked intentionally fouling Drummond: Not how the game is played
Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown criticized his team's decision to intentionally foul Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond to secure a spot in the quarterfinals of the NBA's inaugural In-Season Tournament.
The Celtics intentionally sent Drummond, a career 48% free-throw shooter, to the line twice in back-to-back plays during the blowout fourth quarter of Tuesday's 124-97 win over the Bulls. Boston was up by 29 points in the first instance and 32 in the second.
"It's tough because that's just not how the game is supposed to be played," Brown said postgame. "One, you gotta respect your opponents, and two, it's just a weird setup. We understand the rules, but if I was on the other team, I would be upset as well when we were doing the 'Hack-a-Drummond' in the middle of the fourth quarter. But our coaching staff made the decision, and we stick with it."
Boston intentionally fouled Drummond to maintain the highest possible point differential. The Celtics won East Group C with a point differential of 27 despite being tied with the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets in record (3-1). The team didn't know what mark it needed as the Nets were playing the Toronto Raptors at the same time.
Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla apologized to Drummond postgame, according to The Athletic's Jay King. Bulls head coach Billy Donovan approached Mazzulla the second time Drummond was sent to the line.
"(Donovan) didn't know the ramifications of what was going on in the Brooklyn-Toronto game," said Mazzulla, according to King. "And so I just had to explain to him, 'This is what our people are telling us, this is what we have to do, this is the process towards protecting our lead that gives us the best chance to win and advance.'"
Donovan said he understood the Celtics' tactics but criticized the NBA's rules.
"I understand the situation (Mazulla's) in. He's got to coach his team and do what's right," said Donovan, according to ESPN. "But I think it was putting Andre in a tough spot down 30 points. But this is from the league. This is what the league has done, making this point differential thing."
Drummond called the decision to send him to the line "part of the game" and declined to answer questions about it, according to King.
The Celtics will play the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 4 in the quarterfinals of the In-Season Tournament.