Marcus Smart is fighting the good fight.
Known for his superb defense and habit of making winning plays in the biggest games by those who watch him most, Smart has also developed a reputation as a flopper by his detractors.
When Smart joined ESPN's The Jump Monday, he spoke about Team USA, last year's dysfunction and, most importantly, Weird Celtics Twitter. But he also set the record straight on flopping in the NBA.
"I flop on defense, your favorite player flops on offense," he said. "That’s the only difference. Especially in a game where the offense has nothing but the advantage, the defense has to do something to get the advantage back."
Smart is referencing the long leash offensive players get for the contact they initiate with defenders and the quick whistle defenses face if they commit a fraction of that physicality.
Of course, there are times when Smart has pushed the envelope a bit too far. Rachel Nichols asked him what he was thinking during an egregious flop against the Hawks during the 2016 playoffs, and Smart owned up to it.
"That's a flop. Let's get that straight, that's a flop, this was hilarious," Smart said. "I deserved everything that came my way after that."
In a league where players like James Harden try to bait referees with contact to get to the free throw line, Smart is trying to get the scales to tip a bit more in favor of defenses.
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