The stands were empty, so fans couldn’t give Tacko Fall his usual TD Garden fanfare.
Still, teammates of the Boston Celtics big man did their best on Friday, late in the Celtics’ 124-97 victory over the Orlando Magic. When Fall stepped behind the 3-point arc for a jumper in the fourth quarter (which only counted for two points, since Fall’s size 22 shoe grazed the 3-point line) and banked it in, the bench turned into a mosh pit, which only grew rowdier when Fall took a defender off the dribble and dunked home a two-hand flush.
“Man,” Jaylen Brown exulted on the NBC Sports Boston broadcast after the win. “Y’all got to give Tacko his [expletive] respect. Y’all better stop playing with Tacko.”
Fall finished with six points on 3-for-3 shooting, in addition to five rebounds and an emphatic blocked shot. Here’s a look at his drive and dunk.
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Fall has impressed in his limited minutes this season, showing more mobility and speed than in previous stints. After the game, both Brown and Brad Stevens lauded the work he has done with Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga, who — along with assistant coach Jerome Allen — was out for Friday’s game due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
“I’m sure Jay has rewound Tacko’s jump shot 58 times already, and watched it with great joy,” Stevens said. “They work together and he spent a lot of time in the gym with him.”
Stevens added that Fall’s jumper and dunk were nice moments, both for Fall and for the bench.
“I think that everybody loves what [Fall] brings to the table as far as a teammate, as a worker, as a guy,” Stevens said. “He spends a lot of time on his skill. I think they were more excited about the ball handling at the top of the key and then the drive. But that’s a good thing, and being back in the gym and being together and smiling is a good thing.
“And we’re not full. You know, we’ve gotten five guys that weren’t at the game tonight. Basically, they’ve said if you’re not playing there’s no need to come, so even Kemba was told not to come tonight but it’ll be more fun when we’re full, but that was a good moment for Tacko.”
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