Celtics' Marcus Smart vents about refs, Stevens downplays flareup

Celtics' Marcus Smart vents about refs, Stevens downplays flareup

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CHARLOTTE — Celtics guard Marcus Smart, already fuming at a barrage of whistles against him, barked at Brad Stevens in the win over the Hornets on Thursday night because he thought his coach wasn’t going to bat for him with the officials, but the two quickly moved past the flareup.

Smart picked up a pair of fouls — his fourth and fifth of the night — 11 seconds apart midway through the third quarter. As Stevens fetched a replacement from the bench, Smart could be seen venting in the coach’s direction while leaving the floor.

"I just was telling him, especially when everything is going that way, like, they're just picking and picking [on Smart], and it's like they're eyeing on me and it's like they are doing it on purpose, so I'm telling [Stevens] like, ‘At some point you have to step in and say something as a coach. But since you won't, I've got to.’

"I understand from Brad's standpoint but, at the same time, from the player's standpoint, you've got to step in.”

Smart went on to admonish the officiating while acknowledging he was likely going to be fined for his comments.

"I wish they would call the game the right way, you know?” said Smart. "A lot of calls that they called, I didn't understand where the fouls were. And it just seems like, whenever I get the ball and I'm on offense, I can't get a call.”

Smart was further enraged when Charlotte’s Miles Bridges pushed him to the ground while the two battled for a rebound early in the fourth quarter. Smart popped right back up and tried to confront Bridges but referee Leon Wood stepped in to prevent escalation.

Bridges was assessed a technical, but Smart wondered how it might have been different if he had been the shover.

"I told [the officials], I said, 'If it was me, y'all would probably throw me out the game and everything. So you clean it up, or I will. I allowed y'all, I gave y'all the time, y'all keep telling me to let us handle it, let us handle it, I'm coming to y'all first, but at some point as a player, as a man, you've got to protect yourself.’

"Nobody else is going to protect yourself, you've got to protect yourself. So if that means I've got to lose a little bit of money, then I've got to lose a bit.”

Smart and Bridges twice bumped into each other in a dead-ball situation later in the fourth before Stevens pulled Smart for the night.

Stevens said his bigger message to Smart was simply reinforcing how much this team needs him on the floor.

"We need Marcus and I’ve told him a number of times how much we need him,” said Stevens. "But this is the part about Marcus that I love, right? His fire, his competitiveness. If there’s a moment when he’s upset with us, that’s all part of it. We move on pretty quickly. We’ve been together for a long time. I’ve been yelled at before and that’s OK. I love him and I trust him.

"Again, we’ve been through a lot together so I just think it’s one of those things where, he knows how important he is to our team and, listen, he’s going to be the guy that — he gives a lot to our team. He does a lot of things that are really hard but don’t always get the attention by some. I think we do a good job in Boston of recognizing all that he does and certainly, our team and our staff recognize all he does.”

Smart seemed to smooth things over with Stevens on the bench during the third quarter.

"Me and Brad, that's our relationship. We've been in it six years, so we have those little moments, and it's over,” said Smart. “It's done with and we move on to the next one.”

Smart’s bigger issue by game’s end was the lack of calls his way from the game officials.

"They definitely treat me differently,” said Smart. "I mean, everybody sees it. But I'm not going to sit here and talk about it because talking about it is going to lose me money and the game is over, so I'll calm down. But I've just got to keep playing. Like I said, if they won't protect me, I will.”

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Bryce Brown hits franchise 3's record in Red Claws loss

USA TODAY Sports Images

Bryce Brown hits franchise 3's record in Red Claws loss

The Maine Red Claws were in action at home at the Portland Expo Center on Saturday night hosting the Delaware Blue Coats, taking a 128-123 loss to fall to 7-4 and fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Tacko Fall wasn’t in action, but Bryce Brown was simply furious, leading all scorers with 43 points 15 of 17 from the floor overall and a franchise single-game record 11 of 11 three-pointers. Tremont Waters was terrific, too, with 18 points and 11 assists.



Brown, an undrafted free agent who helped lead Auburn to its first Final Four appearance last spring, was simply unconscious for the Claws. He shot a perfect 11 of 11 from three-point range to give him an absurd effective field goal percentage of 1.2 for the game.


Waters, the Connecticut native, was crafty in his distribution, with just four turnovers to go with his 11 assists.

Yante Maten (18 points), Vincent Poirier (18) and Justin Bibbs (10) also scored in double-figures for the Red Claws.


The Red Claws return to action Friday in Des Moines, Iowa to face the Iowa Wolves, with tipoff at 8 p.m. ET.

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Cavaliers, which tips off Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

Happy birthday, Larry Bird!

Happy birthday, Larry Bird!

Anytime is a good time to watch highlights of the greatness that was Larry Bird playing for the Celtics.

But on Larry Legend's 63rd birthday? It's time to break out the best of No. 33...

The fight with Dr. J in 1984:

The 60-point game against the Hawks in '85:

The steal against Isiah Thomas and the Pistons in '87:

The "you are watching was greatness is all about" duel with Dominique Wilkins in '88:


Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Cavaliers, which tips off Monday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Tommy & Mike have the call at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.