Jayson Tatum

WATCH: Jayson Tatum ribs Bam Adebayo after Heat star crashes interview

WATCH: Jayson Tatum ribs Bam Adebayo after Heat star crashes interview

Only in the NBA bubble could two budding stars battle on the court one moment then ham it up in the media room the next.

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was speaking to reporters via video conference Tuesday night after Boston's 112-106 loss to Miami when Heat big man Bam Adebayo strode into the room for his own interview session.

Adebayo wasn't in a waiting mood, though, so he tried to distract Tatum with a few incredulous looks from the corner.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nets, which begins Wednesday at 8 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 9 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Here's the entertaining scene, as captured by ESPN's Rachel Nichols in Orlando:

Props to Tatum for maintaining his focus as Adebayo tried to run interference. The two young stars then shared a playful exchange in which Tatum appeared to chide Adebayo for benefiting from some whistles. (The Heat big man scored 11 of his 21 points on free throws thanks to 18 free throw attempts, a game high.)

"You shot free throws like you won MVP or something," Tatum appeared to tell Adebayo.

Their banter was all in good nature: Tatum and Adebayo were teammates in the 2016 McDonald's All-American Game and entered the 2017 NBA Draft together, so they go way back. But Tatum still may have had a bitter taste in his mouth after picking up five fouls and getting hit with a technical in Tuesday's loss.

Both players are also in the running for the NBA's Most Improved Player Award amid career seasons; Adebayo is averaging a double-double (16.3 points, 10.5 rebounds) with 1.3 blocks per game for Miami, while Tatum is racking up 23.4 points and seven rebounds per game as he blossoms into an NBA star.

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Foul trouble an issue for Celtics in frustrating loss to Heat

Foul trouble an issue for Celtics in frustrating loss to Heat

Marcus Smart was in a foul mood Tuesday night. 

Jayson Tatum, visibly frustrated with himself at one point in the fourth quarter and mumbled some words to himself, was hit with a technical foul which added to the foul mood that he too was in. 

Boston lost 112-106 to the Miami Heat, who were playing without their best player, Jimmy Butler (sore ankle). 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nets, which begins Wednesday at 8 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 9 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

But Boston’s foul mood had more to do with the loss. 

The reason?

Fouls.

The final foul tally was Boston with 26, the Heat with 19. 

But there was no question the foul numbers played a pivotal role in Boston’s loss, with Marcus Smart fouling out in the third quarter with Jayson Tatum spending the latter stages of the third and some of the fourth on the Celtics bench with five personal fouls. 

Even with core players limited because of foul trouble, the Celtics still managed to stay within striking distance down the stretch. But they could never quite get over the hump, either taking a bad shot, fumbling a defensive rebound away or doing what they seemed to do quite a bit of all game -- commit fouls. 

Here’s a look at some the standouts - some good, some not so good - from Boston’s loss to the Heat. 

Who’s Hot

Bam Adebayo: The Heat ran a decent amount of offense through Adebayo, whose aggressive play around the rim kept a number of Celtics in foul trouble. He would finish with a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Jayson Tatum: Like Marcus Smart, Tatum found himself with a few more fouls than usual. But he still managed to deliver a strong performance in leading Boston with 23 points along with seven rebounds. 

Who’s Not

Marcus Smart: Rough, rough night for Smart, who had three points while missing all five of his shot attempts from the field. 

Semi Ojeleye: He had three points while missing five of his six shot attempts -- most of which were wide open shots, the kind of shots that Ojeleye has to become more consistent with making. 

Miami Zone Defense

The Celtics struggled most of the game when facing the Miami zone defense, which baited Boston into trying to 3-ball their way towards victory. 

Backup Power

Goran Dragic: Miami’s second unit is led by Dragic, who came up with a game-high 20 points (among reserves), which included some big shots down the stretch.  

Bomb’s Away

Heat roster: Miami has been among the NBA’s elite three-point shooting teams this season, and Tuesday’s game against Boston was another reminder of this. The Heat knocked down 15 three-pointers.

Celtics vs. Heat Highlights: C's lose 112-106 as race for No. 3 seed intensifies

Celtics vs. Heat Highlights: C's lose 112-106 as race for No. 3 seed intensifies

FINAL SCORE: Miami Heat 112, Boston Celtics 106

IN BRIEF: The race for the No. 3 seed got a little more interesting Tuesday night after the Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics in the NBA's Orlando bubble.

The Celtics' lead over the Heat for third place in the Eastern Conference standings is now only 1.5 games. Each team has five seeding games remaining, and the C's own the tiebreaker.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nets, which begins Wednesday at 8 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 9 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

The Heat came into this seeding game as the league's best 3-point shooting team, and they caught fire at the perfect time against the Celtics. Boston trimmed the deficit to 102-98 with 3:19 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Miami pushed its lead back to 10 points with two clutch 3-point shots from Duncan Robinson. 

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 23 points, while Jaylen Brown chipped in 18 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Bam Adebayo and Robinson paced the Heat with 21 points apiece. Miami's win is even more impressive when you consider its best player, Jimmy Butler, didn't play due to right ankle soreness.

CELTICS RECORD: 44-23 (1-2 in seeding round)

HIGHLIGHTS

Gordon Hayward drove to the basket and threw down a two-handed slam early in the first quarter.

Only James Harden and Buddy Hield have made more 3-point shots than Duncan Robinson this season.

Tatum's mini run at the end of the first quarter helped Boston keep the score close.

Hayward lost his defender with a sweet crossover and hit the shot for the and-1 in the second quarter.

Adebayo is a great rebounder, and he made the C's pay on the offensive glass in this sequence.

Tatum's sidestep 3-pointers are so difficult to defend.

Brown exploded to the basket for a powerful dunk early in the second half.

Kemba Walker from halfcourt!

Hayward got another and-1 as the C's tried to make a fourth-quarter comeback.

Daniel Theis ran the floor and got rewarded here.

Robinson put the game away with two 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter.

UP NEXT
The Celtics will be right back at it Wednesday night against the Brooklyn Nets. It is the only time Boston will play back-to-back seeding games. The Nets, who also will be playing the second game of a back-to-back, defeated the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday afternoon. NBC Sports Boston will have complete coverage of Celtics-Nets beginning at 8 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live. Tip off is scheduled for 9 p.m.