In the fourth quarter, it was a sight you seldom see with the Boston Celtics -- head coach Brad Stevens being whistled for a technical foul.
And to make matters worse, the Celtics were clinging to a two-point lead (78-76) at the time.
But after struggling to put away the pesky Charlotte Hornets for most of the night, Boston scored seven straight following the technical free throw which propelled them to a 104-98 victory.
The technical foul against the fourth-year coach was only the second he has received in a regular season game (he picked up one in 2015 in a preseason matchup against New York).
“I’d rather him get the techs than me,” quipped Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas to reporters afterwards.
Not surprisingly, Thomas said he and some of his teammates were surprised that the usually mild-mannered Stevens was hit for a technical.
But Stevens’ frustration certainly mirrored that of his players who were called for 26 personal fouls while the Hornets were whistled for 17.
Even more disturbing was the free throw discrepancy (33 free throw attempts for Charlotte compared to 17 for Boston).
“You need that every now and then,” Thomas said of Stevens' tech.
That outward, fiery emotion is something Thomas said is becoming more common with Stevens this season in his dealings with his players as well.
“Just because of the expectations,” Thomas said. “He expects a lot out of us. When we’re not doing our job, he’s on us a lot more than he has in the past.”
And apparently the referees as well.
Thomas thinks this might be the season when Stevens picks up two technical fouls in the same season.
“Brad shows that every blue moon,” Thomas said, adding “We probably won’t see it for another 50 games.”