Celtics

Marcus Smart's shove of Joel Embiid costs him $50,000 fine

Marcus Smart's shove of Joel Embiid costs him $50,000 fine

Not having Marcus Smart around for most of the second half of loss at Philadelphia on Wednesday night proved costly to the Celtics. 

And as we discovered Thursday, there will also be a cost to Smart — a hefty one, mind you. 

The NBA announced that Smart, who was ejected after he “forcefully” pushed Sixers center Joel Embiid in the back and to the ground in the third quarter, will be fined $50,000 for the incident. 

The league announced the higher-than-usual fine amount was due to “repeated acts of unsportsmanlike conduct during NBA games, including two prior incidents this season which have resulted in fines.”

Smart was fined $25,000 for his role in a pushing incident with Cleveland’s JR Smith during the preseason and was fined $35,000 in January for an incident involving him and Hawks guard De’Andre Bembry. 

The latest flareup involving Smart occurred in the third quarter after Embiid delivered a screen that sent Smart tumbling to the floor. 

Smart rose to his feet soon afterward and, with Embiid’s back to him, Smart ran up and delivered a two-handed push that sent Embiid to the floor. 

Players from both teams, as well as the officials, stepped in between the two to prevent the incident from escalating. 

Boston went on to lose the game 118-115, but at the time of the incident, the Celtics were ahead by double figures. 

While Smart’s absence wasn’t the reason why Boston lost the game, it stands to reason that not having their best perimeter defender around didn't help.

Still, that doesn’t make the disappointment any less for his teammates and coaching staff. 

“I’m disappointed in Marcus [Smart],” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens after the loss. “We need you; [Aron] Baynes is already out. We need him to be in the game, no matter what happened. We needed that to happen.”'

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Game-by-Game recap of the Celtics' four-game sweep of the Pacers

Game-by-Game recap of the Celtics' four-game sweep of the Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS -- The record books will show that the 2018-2019 Boston Celtics swept the Indiana Pacers, an indicator often of a series that was never really that close or competitive. 

But these players know better. 

Indiana gave the Celtics all they could handle for four games, with the difference being Boston’s ability to play their best in the closing moments, dominate play for a stretch in the second half or have someone besides Kyrie Irving step up in the clutch and deliver. 

How close was it?

Despite Boston sweeping them, the Celtics only led after eight quarters, with six going to Indiana and two ending in a tie. 

But the difference was when the Celtics won a quarter they absolutely crushed the Pacers in those 12-minute quarters.

Here’s a game-by-game recap of the Boston Celtics’ four-game sweep of the Indiana Pacers.

GAME 1: BOSTON 84, Indiana 74

  • In his first playoff game as a Celtic, Kyrie Irving had 20 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
  • Jaylen Brown, in the starting lineup for Marcus Smart (oblique tear), limited Indiana’s top scorer Bojan Bogdanovic to just two points when guarding him.
  • The Celtics’ Marcus Morris had 20 points off the bench along with seven rebounds.
  • Indiana shot 2-for-19 in the third quarter, and were outscored 26-8 by Boston.
  • Prior to Game 1, Boston was 0-9 this season when scoring less than 100 points.


GAME 2: BOSTON 99, Indiana 99

  • Trailing 82-70 in the fourth quarter, Boston went on a 16-0 run while keeping the Pacers without a field goal for 7:54.
  • Jayson Tatum, who had 26 points, scored or assisted on eight of Boston’s last 10 points as part of a 10-0 Celtics run to close the game.
  • In the fourth, the Pacers shot 4-for-17 (23.5 percent) from the field compared to the Celtics who connected on 52.2 percent (12-for-23) of their shots in the fourth. 
  • Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 37 points along with seven assists and six rebounds. 


GAME 3: Boston, 104, INDIANA 96

  • The Celtics jumped on the Pacers from the outset, tallying 41, first-quarter points. 
  • Indiana roared back with a strong second quarter led by Tyreke Evans who had 12 points in the quarter to help give the Pacers a slim 61-59 at the half. 
  • A dreadful third quarter once again proved to be Indiana’s undoing as the Celtics outscored them 21-12 in the quarter while limiting them to just 5-for-23 (21.7 percent) shooting in the quarter.
  • In the fourth, Indiana cut Boston’s lead to 88-87 only for Boston to respond with an 8-1 run with Kyrie Irving either scoring or assisting on seven of the eight points. He would finish the night with 19 points and 10 assists to go with five rebounds.
  • Jaylen Brown, primarily focused on his defense against Bojan Bogdanovic in Games 1 and 2, made a huge impact as a scorer in leading Boston with 23 points on a near flawless 8-for-9 shooting. 


GAME 4: Boston 110, INDIANA 106

  • The Celtics opened the game with an 8-0 run, only for the Pacers to respond with a 17-9 run of their own.
  • Gordon Hayward led Boston with 20 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.
  • Indiana’s defense did their best job of the series on Kyrie Irving who had 14 points on 4-for-13 shooting
  • Flagrant-1 foul committed by Cory Joseph against Jayson Tatum sparked a 14-3 Celtics run.
  • Marcus Morris provided another major spark off the bench for Boston, with 18 points - eight of which came in the fourth quarter. 

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Ray Allen thinks the Paul Pierce-Dwyane Wade debate took away from Pierce's greatness

Ray Allen thinks the Paul Pierce-Dwyane Wade debate took away from Pierce's greatness

The Paul Pierce vs Dwyane Wade saga continues, as Ray Allen weighed in on the debate in an interview with SI Now

Allen, who played and won championships with Pierce and Wade, found it difficult to compare the two due to the types of players they were, but didn't think Pierce should have sparked the debate in the first place. 

Paul had a great career, but what he did was he entered the arena of allowing people to start judging him, and it took away from his greatness... What we have to get away from is trying to pit this player against that player and look at each player individually and marvel at their impact on the league and appreciate who they are. 

Pierce has said the debate and his villain status doesn't bother him, but Allen seems to have a different perspective of how people should talk about player's legacies. 

Still, more and more prominent NBA figures continue to weigh in. Danny Ainge has already backed Pierce with the use of analytics, so it's only a matter of time before Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo comment on the debate, right?

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