Milwaukee Bucks

NBA Rumors: Celtics' Marcus Smart fined for Friday's comments about officiating

NBA Rumors: Celtics' Marcus Smart fined for Friday's comments about officiating

Marcus Smart has been disciplined for his comments made after Friday night's Boston Celtics-Milwaukee Bucks game.

The Celtics guard was fined $15,000 for criticizing the officials in his postgame press conference, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.


Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Trail Blazers, which begins Sunday at 2:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 3:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Smart was irked by Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo being the beneficiary of multiple borderline calls, including an overturned offensive foul that turned into a blocking foul on Smart.

"The excuse was I was late on the charge. The replay center said I was late and it was a block," Smart said after the game. "Quite frankly, I think we all know what that was about. Giannis has 6 fouls. They didn't want to get him out. Let's just call a spade a spade. That's just what it is."

Smart wasn't the only Celtic bothered by the controversial calls. Jaylen Brown took to Instagram after Boston's loss to share his displeasure with a hilarious post featuring Antetokounmpo and a ref.

With all of that drama in the rearview mirror, the C's will move on to face the Portland Trail Blazers in the second game of their season restart. Coverage of that matchup will start Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET right here on NBC Sports Boston.

Spry Kemba Walker the best sight for championship-craving Celtics

Spry Kemba Walker the best sight for championship-craving Celtics

Of all the positives that the Boston Celtics can pluck from Friday’s restart opener against the Milwaukee Bucks, nothing is nearly as important as how good Kemba Walker looked during his floor time.

After three weeks of consternation about Walker’s balky left knee, Boston’s point guard scored 16 points in 19 minutes and looked far more like the All-Star version of himself from the start of the 2019-20 season than the hobbled player we saw before the season paused in March.

Walker looked swift and spry, playing with familiar zip and bounce. He put constant pressure on Milwaukee’s defense in the high pick-and-roll and had the shooting touch that often evaded him as he fought his sore knee in the winter months.

Why does it matter so much? The Celtics are legitimate title contenders if they get 35 minutes per playoff game of the Walker we saw on Friday night. The ceiling is much lower if Walker is compromised.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Trail Blazers, which begins Sunday at 2:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 3:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

So even though the Bucks escaped with a win, Boston can take solace in how a healthy Walker could level the playing field against maybe the best team in the conference.

Walker said he "felt pretty normal … [The knee] felt good. I felt very comfortable out there moving.” And teammates echoed his assessment.

"I thought [Walker] looked great,” said Gordon Hayward. "Definitely showed good spurts there. Definitely brings some pace to our team. Another threat, another ball-handler, another guy that’s a competitor and a winner, and we’re happy to have him back.”

Walker connected on five of his nine shots, including a trio of 3-pointers. After the Bucks opened the game on a 17-2 run — with Boston’s only bucket being an inadvertent putback of a Walker miss by a Milwaukee defender — Walker settled his team with a pull-up jumper four minutes in. He hit his first 3-pointer a short time later as Boston rallied back into the game.

Early in the second quarter, he sprinted to catch a pass above the 3-point arc, dribbled back towards the midcourt logo, then accelerated off an Enes Kanter screen before draining a pull-up 3 with Milwaukee’s defense sagging.

"Kemba certainly was a positive, I thought,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "He just puts so much pressure on defense when he comes off pick-and-rolls and with his speed.”

Walker entered the game knowing he was going to play a maximum of 20 minutes but that didn’t stop him from playfully lobbying to get some extra second-half floor time. "But nobody listened to me, so it didn’t really matter,” Walker said with a chuckle. "I knew I wasn’t going back in. It was set.”

Stevens said he never considered reinserting Walker and reaffirmed that the team is married to its plan of pacing Walker so that he’s playing his normal minutes load in the postseason.

“I’m not playing that game. Kemba’s knee is the most important thing,” said Stevens. "We’re trying to strengthen it. His 18-20 minutes, whatever he ended up with, that was part of the plan. We weren’t going to stretch that. It’s hard after you come out at the end of the third to then be inserted for a couple of minutes.”

Walker has embraced the Celtics’ plan and says that, tough as it can be, he has to stay committed to the path.

"I knew what I was coming into. I’ve just got to stay positive, and just keep on knowing that it’s part of the bigger picture,” said Walker. "My minutes will gradually go up game by game, depending on how my knee acts after every game. So, I’m feeling good. I’m looking forward to [Saturday’s] practice, to learn from my mistakes, and then head back into Sunday and play another one and be better.”

Celtics' Marcus Smart blasts refs for overturned Giannis Antetokounmpo foul call

Celtics' Marcus Smart blasts refs for overturned Giannis Antetokounmpo foul call

Marcus Smart didn't hold back after the Boston Celtics' 119-112 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.

The Celtics guard clearly was irked by Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks benefitting from some questionable calls, including an overturned foul call that would have caused Antetokounmpo to foul out late in the fourth quarter.

The first incident came with 2:30 remaining. Antetokounmpo appeared to foul C's big man Daniel Theis, but a review ruled it wasn't a "hostile act."

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Trail Blazers, which begins Sunday at 2:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 3:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Then, with the game tied at 107, Antetokounmpo was called for an offensive foul while driving on Smart, who got his feet out of the restricted area and looked to have taken a charge. Rather than it being Antetokounmpo's sixth foul, the call was overturned and Smart was hit with a blocking foul.

Antetokounmpo's basket counted, and he hit the free throw to give the Bucks a 110-107 lead and all of the momentum in the final minute.

Watch the controversial play below:

Smart called out the referees after the game when asked about the play.

"The excuse was I was late on the charge. The replay center said I was late and it was a block," Smart said. "Quite frankly, I think we all know what that was about. Giannis has 6 fouls. They didn't want to get him out. Let's just call a spade a spade. That's just what it is."

Yeah, it's safe to say he wasn't thrilled.

Smart's frustration is understandable. Especially after a game in which he contributed 23 points off the bench and was the primary reason the Celtics were able to keep up with the Bucks after a slow start.

Nonetheless, the C's simply have to eat the tough loss and move on to their next matchup inside the Orlando bubble.

They'll take on Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, and you can watch that game right here on NBC Sports Boston with coverage starting at 2:30 p.m.