Marcus Smart is fine with losing the battle as long as he wins the war.
The Boston Celtics guard was the victim of a mean LaMelo Ball crossover/stepback 3-pointer combo in the third quarter of Monday's game in Charlotte. But Smart's Celtics outlasted Ball's Hornets for a 140-129 victory. So, when asked after the game about Ball putting him on a highlight reel, Smart took the long view.
"It happens. I'm a defender. Just like a shot blocker, you're gonna get dunked on a few times," Smart said. "All he did was make a good move, stopped, and I just stopped.
"... As we know, a player like him, I'm gonna make up for it, and I did it twice. ... He's going to get all of the Overtime, House of Highlights, SportsCenter (highlights) and all that, but we got the win and that's all that matters."
That highlight of Ball's slick handles indeed made the rounds on social media -- yes, even on our own account.
As Smart mentioned, though, he made up for that play by intercepting Gordon Hayward's inbound pass intended for Ball late in regulation to force overtime. Smart finished with three steals on the night and hit a clutch 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter to help Boston stage a comeback.
"Defensively, he won that game for us," Jaylen Brown said of Smart after the game.
Ball, who finished with 25 points and nine assists Monday, is one of the most entertaining young players in the league and will make highlights on a nightly basis. But Smart didn't seem to mind being on the wrong end in Charlotte, again delivering "winning plays" for Boston in crunch time.