Celtics

Tyronn Lue: Celtics are "gooning the game up"

Tyronn Lue: Celtics are "gooning the game up"

It was the Cavaliers' J.R. Smith who was whistled for a flagrant foul for his two-handed push of the Celtics' Al Horford as he was airborne on a layup attempt in the fourth quarter of Game 2 Tuesday night.

Yet, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said the Celtics are "gooning the game up." 

“We have to be tougher,” Lue said. “I think they’re playing tougher than we are. We’re seeing that. They’re being physical. They’re gooning the game up, and we have to do the same thing. We have to be tougher mentally and physically.”

Smith's shove and Marcus Smart's retaliatory shot in a scuffle with Smith in the immediate aftermath - which led to double-technicals on the two players - are sure to heighten the tensions between the teams as they head for Cleveland for Game 3 Saturday with the Celtics up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals. 

Smart called Smith's push "dirty" and said the Celtics and Smith have a history (including a flagrant foul on Smith for a hit on Jae Crowder in the Cavs-C's 2015 playoff series).

"Oh, man, we're out there to play basketball," Smart said postgame. "You know, and I just looked at it: Al is a defenseless person. He's in the air. He can't control how his body goes, and he's not even looking. And you go and take two hands to the back; that's a dirty shot. You just can't allow that to keep happening.

"That's not the first time J.R. has done some dirty stuff, especially playing against us. He's known for it, especially playing against us. We know that. So, you know, it's like a bully: You keep letting a bully keep picking on you, he's going to pick on you until you finally stand up, and that's what I tried to do. One of my guys was down, and I took offense to it."

Smith didn't sugarcoat what he did: "It was a good call. I blatantly pushed [Horford]," he told reporters after the game. "It wasn't like I was trying to low bridge him or something. I just wanted to make sure he didn't get it. It was a good, hard foul. I understand why they gave me a flag there."

As for the Celtics "gooning it up"? The C's didn't dispute they've been getting physical.

"Gooning? That's a good word," Celtics forward Marcus Morris said. "We're doing what it takes. Whatever it takes, every player, 1 to 15, whatever it takes, that's what we're doing. You call it what you want to call it. We're just trying to get the win."

"I don't even know what to say to that," teammate Jaylen Brown said. "I agree, I guess."

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The Enes Kanter Show: Awesome story about Kevin Garnett's Celtics arrival

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

The Enes Kanter Show: Awesome story about Kevin Garnett's Celtics arrival

Everyone has a great Kevin Garnett story. And Enes Kanter's pretty much sums up how intensely committed KG was to winning.

The Boston Celtics forward recently ran into Garnett in Boston at the regional premiere of "Uncut Gems," a new movie Garnett stars in with Adam Sandler.

According to Kanter, Celtics lead owner Wyc Grousbeck also was at the premiere and told Kanter of the first time Garnett walked into TD Garden after being traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Celtics in the summer of 2007.

Here's Kanter with NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg on the latest episode of "The Enes Kanter Show:"

(Grousbeck) told me a story. He said, "When KG came to the Celtics, he stopped and looked at every (championship) banner for 30 minutes. For 30 minutes. And he studied (them). ... Before he came (to Boston), we had 16 banners. So, that's 30 minutes for every banner. And it's like, 'How do you spend that much (time)?' 

As Forsberg pointed out, that's essentially eight hours of Garnett staring at the TD Garden rafters and soaking in the franchise's rich history.

That may have been some hyperbole on Grousbeck's part, but if anyone would be that maniacally focused on success, it's the uber-competitive Garnett.

"Anybody else, I would be like, 'That's an exaggerated tale,' " Forsberg said, "but I can actually believe that with KG."

Garnett's commitment to winning paid off instantly, as the Celtics raised banner No. 17 to the rafters in his first season with the team in 2007-08.

Kanter and Forsberg also discussed what makes Garnett such a great trash talker, how his current minutes situation differs from his time with the New York Knicks, what the Celtics' chemistry is like on this team and much more.

Hear more from Kanter and Forsberg on Episode 5 of "The Enes Kanter Show," which drops every Wednesday on YouTube and the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pacers, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Celtics Talk Podcast: How will ex-Celtics' big man Al Horford be received in return to Boston with 76ers?

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NBC Sports Boston Illlustration

Celtics Talk Podcast: How will ex-Celtics' big man Al Horford be received in return to Boston with 76ers?

Al Horford makes his return to TD Garden Thursday night in a Philadelphia 76ers uniform. How will the former Celtics big man be received now that's he joined one of Boston's key rivals in the East?

That's just one of the many storylines ahead of Philly's first game in Boston and the first meeting for the teams since the Sixers easily defeated the Celtics back on opening night in late October. 

Kyle Draper and Chris Forsberg talk about it in the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast. 

"It should be all love," said Draper, "but let's keep it real: The way Horford went about it, some people aren't happy about it. It sounds like him and the Sixers had some kind agreement before you're allowed to actually talk. I get the sense that they [the Celtics] were caught off guard a little bit."

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE:

Earlier in the podcast, Forsberg is joined by Sixers reporter Serena Winters from NBC Sports Philly to talk about all things 76ers, including Ben Simmons, Horford's veteran influence on the team and where Boston and Philadelphia are now as compared to the opener. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pacers, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.