All-Stars have 1 major gripe about NBA In-Season Tournament
The NBA In-Season Tournament has added some spice to the early portion of the regular season. However, the debuting competition also comes with one side-effect that has rubbed some stars the wrong way.
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo have both expressed their concern over point differential playing a factor in the tournament standings.
Point differential serves as the tie-breaker between any teams that are tied in the in-season tournament standings. It’s given an incentive for teams to try to pad their lead in a tournament game with the result already all but decided.
“The point differential thing, I’m not the biggest fan of it,” said Tatum when asked about the tournament Sunday during his postgame presser. “Last Friday where the game was already over and the guys still trying to score, you know, it’s all about respecting the game and respecting your opponents.”
Jayson Tatum spoke about the #NBA's In-Season Tournament:
"The point differential thing, I'm not the biggest fan of it … last Friday where the game was already over and the guys still trying to score, you know, it's all about respecting the game and respecting your opponents."… pic.twitter.com/SyPqPTUNgC
— Celtics on CLNS (@CelticsCLNS) November 27, 2023
Adebayo expressed a similar sentiment hours before the Heat’s Tuesday tournament matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Heat star stated that the point differential factor has taken away from the sport’s integrity.
Bam Adebayo on importance of point differential for the In-Season Tournament: "That's the thing a lot of guys I've been seeing disagree with because if you're up 15 and you're trying to get a point differential with 40 seconds, it takes the integrity from the game."
— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) November 28, 2023
To the All-Stars’ point, the Celtics ended up trying to pad their point differential Tuesday in a tournament game that they were already leaing by 32 points.
Boston intentionally fouled Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond, a career 47% free throw shooter, to try adding to their already-massive lead. The move led to a heated confrontation between Bulls coach Billy Donovan and Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla (video here).
Celtics were intentionally fouling Andre Drummond while up 32 POINTS with 7:02 in the 4Q
Joe Mazzulla had to explain to Billy Donovan they needed to win by 23 to have a chance to advance 😂 pic.twitter.com/4rEoWvHfus
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 29, 2023
The in-season tournament has yielded some exciting moments thus far this season. But it hasn’t been without its hitches.