Celtics

Marcus Smart 'ecstatic' about All-Defensive selection, but wants a championship even more

Marcus Smart 'ecstatic' about All-Defensive selection, but wants a championship even more

Marcus Smart's reaction to being named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team was not all that surprising.

“I was ecstatic,” Smart told NBC Sports Boston in a phone interview. “I’m definitely appreciative of being recognized for what I do defensively. But I’m not in this for awards or accolades. I want to win games, win a championship.”

And that made for a bittersweet time for Smart, happy for his own individual accomplishment but more than willing to trade it in for another round or two of basketball for the Celtics. 

Smart also tweeted his appreciation and his desire for a title rather than individual honors.

With each passing day since their playoff exit, there has been a growing sense of discord surrounding the Celtics' season, which ended with them being eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals in just five games by the Milwaukee Bucks. 

Smart has been vacationing since the season ended and said he has not heard or paid much attention to the talk surrounding what happened and didn’t happen with the Celtics' season.

In his end-of-the-season interview with the media, Smart didn’t hesitate in defending Kyrie Irving from criticisms that his leadership was a problem for the team. 

“That’s bull[expletive]," Smart said at the time. "Not one of us on this team knows what Kyrie’s been through. Probably a few people in this world know what Kyrie goes through. It was hard for him as well. He was forced into a situation where it was business over the friendships, where he had to come into a situation knowing that this is a group of guys that had something going before I come here, how will I fit in? He didn’t want to disrupt that. And that says a lot.

Smart added, “This is Kyrie Irving we’re talking about. And he’s talking about coming in and disrupting us. We took him in with full arms and we tried to understand it. Like I said, we never really understood. We’re not in his shoes. So that’s just a bull(expletive) statement to say his leadership killed us. There’s four other guys out there, there’s 12, 13 other guys on the team, coaches and everything. So to blame it on one guy is bull[expletive].”

Another heavily talked-about criticism of the Celtics this past season centered around them having too much talent and not enough playing time or prominent roles to go around to keep most of the players happy. 

Smart acknowledged the team’s overflow of depth was among the challenges the players and coaching staff tried to work through, to no avail. 

“We had a lot of talent; we were stacked, one through five,” Smart said. “It just didn’t work.”

As the longest-tenured Celtic, Smart, who was drafted fifth overall in 2014, has been around the organization long enough to know that Danny Ainge, the team’s president of basketball operations, will not stand pat this summer. 

Smart said he has no idea what changes will be made, but Ainge’s track record makes it pretty obvious that the Celtics will have a different look when training camp opens in a few months. 

Smart said his confidence level in Ainge is “real high” when it comes to adding talent,  but said, “That's Danny’s job. That’s for the front office to figure out. But I do believe Danny and those guys will figure out what we need to do to be better next season.”

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Ex-Celtic Guerschon Yabusele fined by CBA for not looking at Chinese flag during anthem

Ex-Celtic Guerschon Yabusele fined by CBA for not looking at Chinese flag during anthem

Ex-Celtic Guerschon Yabusele, now playing in the Chinese Basketball Association, got himself in some hot water over the weekend.

The 23-year-old was fined $1,400 and received a "serious warning" for not looking at the Chinese flag during the national anthem before a game. According to TMZ Sports, a rule in the CBA handbook states players must look at the flag during the "March of the Volunteers."

Yabusele apologized for the incident with the following statement:

"I have the same routine, I've been doing this my whole career and I wanted to apologize for the people that took it Personnal [sic] because it was not my point," he said, per TMZ.

"I will show my respect during the Chinese national anthem and keep my head up for now on, Love you guys."

In 2017, a law passed that makes disrespecting the Chinese national anthem a crime that carries a maximum 3-year jail sentence.

Of course, Yabusele clearly meant no disrespect, so that explains the light slap on the wrist for the Celtics' No. 16 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Forsberg's Report Card: Power ranking the C's roster>>>

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Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers live stream: Watch NBA game online

Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers live stream: Watch NBA game online

Exactly one month after breaking his hand against the Spurs, Gordon Hayward could make his return to the Celtics lineup Monday night when the C's wrap up a three-game homestand against the Cavaliers. 

Hayward had surgery exactly four weeks ago, and after the procedure, his announced timetable was "up to six weeks," so a potential return to the lineup Monday would be a best-case scenario for the C's.

Boston has fared well in Hayward's absence, going 9-4 in 13 games (after going 7-1 in eight games with Hayward). Other players have stepped up with Hayward out, with Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum all averaging at least 20 points per game this season.

While Hayward might return, Marcus Smart is dealing with yet another health setback, as he's doubtful to play thanks to an eye infection. Robert Williams has already been ruled out with a sore left hip.

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BEFORE THE GAME: At 7 p.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Kyle Draper, Brian ScalabrineMike Gorman, Tommy Heinsohn, A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Forsberg, and Abby Chin. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch a breakdown of the first two quarters on Halftime Live presented by Ace Ticket. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

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