The NBA announced on Wednesday afternoon that All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas has been fined $25,000 for “directing inappropriate language toward a fan” during Game 3 of the Boston Celtics’ Eastern Conference semifinals matchup with the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center.
After two series-opening wins at TD Garden, the Boston Celtics‘ fortunes took a turn for the worse in D.C., as the Washington Wizards once again built a big lead, held onto it, and snuffed out the Celtics’ offense to get on the board in the Eastern Conference semifinals. It was a frustrating Game 3 for Thomas, who followed his 53-point Game 2 masterpiece by struggling to just 13 points on 3-for-8 shooting, one of his quietest performances in 2 1/2 years in a Celtics uniform.
Evidently, the frustration continued off the court, too. At one point, Thomas found himself feeling compelled to respond to a heckler seated near the Celtics bench with what looked like it was some NSFW language:
“Things got a little heated last night at the game from the bench as well,” wrote Instagram user thesportytraveler in the caption of a video post that was later picked up by Bleacher Report’s House of Highlights account. “All 5’7 (5’9 my ass) of Isaiah Thomas told this disrespectful fan, I will f*** you up and you know that…..lol ????????”
Thomas also appeared to invite the heckler to “come right here and say it” after the game. Judging by the lack of reports about Thomas fighting a dude immediately following the Celtics’ loss, it seems likely that the fan declined said invitation, and that no follow-up summons came during or after Washington’s Game 4 win to even the best-of-seven series at 2-2.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed Tuesday that the league was “aware [of] and reviewing” the incident, according to Nik DeCosta-Klipa of Boston.com:
According to the user who captured the exchange, a male heckler was “screaming all game” at Thomas to “take his toothless a– back to Boston.” Thomas, who was sitting on the bench, reportedly responded, pointing at the fan, “I will f— you up, and you know that.”
This is the second time this postseason that a Celtics guard has found himself exchanging unpleasantries with a fan. During the fourth quarter of Game 2 of Boston’s opening-round series against the Chicago Bulls, TNT’s cameras captured Marcus Smart flipping the bird in the direction of the crowd near the area where he’d just missed a 3-pointer:
Marcus Smart, BRUH. ???? pic.twitter.com/5kWTO5JcYn
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 19, 2017
After reviewing the incident, the NBA fined Smart $25,000 for “making an obscene gesture on the playing court.”
Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley also received a $25,000 fine for “confronting a fan” after the final buzzer of Game 3 of Houston’s opening-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Beverley told reporters that the fan — later identified as Stuart Scaramucci, son of Thunder minority owner Jay Scaramucci — was “yelling after me, ‘F you, Patrick Beverley, F you, Patrick Beverley, F you, Patrick Beverley,’ [and] waving a clapper in my face” after he’d fallen to the ground behind the basket. Scaramucci alleged that Beverley “touched him and his wife during the encounter.”
Game 5 between the C’s and Wizards tips off in Boston at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
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