Celtics forward Al Horford didn’t take exception to being handed a flagrant foul in Boston’s 116-100 victory in Game 3 of the NBA Finals over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
Officials, led by Scott Foster, originally called Horford for a common shooting foul on Steph Curry’s 3-point make during the Warriors’ third-quarter rally, but went to video review and upgraded the infraction to a flagrant for Horford not giving Curry enough space to land after shooting.
Curry wasn’t injured on the play — the Warriors superstar did get banged up later in the contest — and Horford explained following the contest that there was no malicious intent behind his strong closeout of Curry’s shot.
“It happens. I understand,” Horford told reporters, per NBC Sports Boston. “It’s an emphasis trying to protect the shooters. I understand that. I felt like it was a good contest, but maybe I didn’t let him land. It’s something that it’s hard when you have guy playing that fast and you’re trying to contest and things happen. I’m glad he’s fine. It was a fair call.”
The flagrant foul ended up having sizable ramifications, as Curry hit the ensuing free throw for a four-point play. Golden State retained possession and Otto Porter Jr. hit an off-balanced triple with the shot clock winding down to give the Warriors seven points in a span of 13 seconds.
Curry ended up leading all scorers in Game 3 with 31 points on 12-for-22 shooting, but the Celtics hunted him defensively to get favorable matchups.
The Celtics will look to extend their 2-1 series lead in Game 4 on Friday night. Tipoff from TD Garden is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.