Tacko-mania is in fine form here at the Portland Expo Center in Maine. Tacko Fall had another big G-League game for the Red Claws on Sunday, finishing with 21 points on 9-for-9 shooting with a blocked shot and five rebounds.
The Red Claws are now 3-0, with Fall averaging 16.7 points on 78.6 percent shooting. He’s blocked 10 shots in three games.
A seldom-seen side of the normally soft-spoken Fall, a Celtics prospect, showed up in the win: a non-nonsense, take-no-guff tough player who was hit with the first technical foul of his young career.
In the fourth quarter, after a foul from forward Devin Robinson of the Raptors 905, Fall and Robinson wound up face-to-face, chattering. Fall, avoiding further conflagration, put up his hands and walked away. Both players were hit with technicals.
“I told the ref, ‘You guys can’t let it get that far. If you see things, get out ahead, you gotta clean it up,’” Fall told Heavy.com after the game. “All throughout the game, they were small so they’re always going to try to do some tricks here and there. Like they were hitting my legs, grabbing me while I was rolling, I got tired of it.”
In the first half, Fall fouled Robinson, who went to the floor. While on the floor, Robinson kicked his legs out and put Fall’s leg into a sort of scissors hold, nearly tripping Fall. That was where the conflict between the two started.
“He had my leg,” Fall said. “Like I was trying to get my leg out. I talked to the ref before that happened, like, you guys don’t want us to do certain things, you have to clean it up. You let it get there and then you call a tech on both of us. I’m the biggest guy on the floor. I’m going to play like it. If you’re gonna come at me, be ready. It’s not going to go your way.”
That set things up for the second-half confrontation. Fall said Robinson, a veteran of the NBA who spent time with the Wizards in 2017-18 and 2018-19, was too aggressive with his hands, not his legs, in that sequence.
“In the second half, I was setting a screen, while I was setting the screen he grabbed my arm,” Fall said. “He pushed me a little bit. I tried to push him off me the first time. Then I’m rolling again and he’s doing the same thing and I’m like, ‘All right, that’s enough.’ Then it got to that point.”
Tacko Fall on a Celtics Two-Way Contract
Fall is with the Red Claws after signing a two-way contract with the Celtics this offseason. At 7-5 and a star in college for Central Florida, where he averaged 10.1 points on 74.0 percent shooting, Fall went undrafted in this year’s NBA Draft, an outcome he admits surprised and disappointed him.
But he bounced back by excelling in Summer League play and earning a chance with Boston. He became a fan favorite in Las Vegas and that carried over to Boston’s preseason slate, where Fall would draw standing ovations from the crowd at the TD Garden when he’d check into games.
On a two-way deal, Fall can spend as many as 45 days with the Celtics. Most of the season will be spent honing his game and building experience here in Portland.
“He’s been great,” Maine coach Darren Erman said. “He is eager to learn, he is a guy who has come here to work hard and find ways to get better. He wants to be a player for the Boston Celtics and he understands that starts here. He’s an NBA player, there is no question about that.”
And he won’t be pushed around. Asked about being targeted for extra physical play here in the G-League because of his size and the hype that surrounds him, he smiled and repeated himself.
“If you’re going to do it,” Fall said, “be ready because it’s not going to go your way.”