BOSTON–There was an odd play in the first half of Game 7 between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics on Sunday. Celtics star Jaylen Brown dove into the Sixers’ bench to go after a loose ball and then he appeared to be stuck on the bench.
Brown then turned to yell at Philadelphia’s bench group and the officials stepped in and blew the whistle dead. After a lengthy review, the officiating ruled that Georges Niang grabbed Brown’s knee, and that stopped him from getting back onto the court and play.
After the 112-88 loss to the Celtics, Niang explained his point of view on what happened with Brown.
“He had fell on the bench and I guess it looked like I grabbed him,” Niang added. “I haven’t looked at the film. It was a bang-bang play. Nothing malicious so take it for what it is. It’s an intense environment and things happen quickly.”
In terms of his intent behind the play, Niang stated there wasn’t any. It was just a tough play and things happen in the heat of battle.
“I don’t think it was purposely done to hurt Jaylen,” he added. “I think these things happen over the course of the game. He came to the bench and if it looked like I was holding him back to get back on defense, that wasn’t my intention.”
Niang had himself a solid season for the Sixers off the bench, but after yet another second round exit, he stated that the loss on Sunday stings a bit.
“There’s some ups and downs,” Niang finished. “We have a great team and, obviously, it stings because you don’t know how many opportunities you’re gonna have to have a team that’s good enough to win it. So obviously, it stings and I’m gonna take some time to overall wrap my head around it and think about the year.”