Boston Celtics big man Al Horford didn’t last the entirety of an overall ugly showing against a subpar Orlando Magic team at TD Garden on Friday night.
In the third quarter, Horford was assessed a flagrant two foul after elbowing Magic’s Moritz Wagner. NBA officials followed up by reviewing the play which led to Horford being ejected for just the second time in his 16-year career.
Jayson Tatum, who scored a game-high 31 points in the loss, was in heavy disagreement with the ejection call after the game.
“I didn’t think that was the right call,” Tatum said, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “… That was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe Al got thrown out the game. I didn’t think that was warranted. Especially once they went to go review they saw that Mo fouled him first — that’s how I got to shoot the free throws. Sometimes guys get tired of people grabbing on them and the ref not seeing it.”
Horford played just 16 minutes as a Celtics starter and scored six points on 2-of-4 shooting from the field along with six rebounds and three blocks.
Meanwhile, Wagner got the last laugh. The former Celtics big delivered a strong showing against the team that waived him after playing nine games. Wagner scored a season-high 25 points and shot 9-of-12 from the field to go along with eight rebounds.
Celtics interim head coach Joe Mazzulla, who wasn’t as fired up as Tatum, did acknowledge the impact Horford’s ejection created in losing to one of the NBA’s worst teams.
“I haven’t seen the play, I haven’t seen it,” Mazzulla told reporters, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “And that was big for our team so it impacted us cause we didn’t have him for the rest of the game.”
The Celtics, who have now lost three of their last four games, will take on the Magic again on Sunday. Tipoff from TD Garden is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.