The NBA wished Marcus Smart a happy 24th birthday by taking a chunk out of his paycheck.
The Boston Celtics guard was fined $15,000 for “public criticism of the officiating” after Saturday night’s loss to the Houston Rockets, the league announced Tuesday.
It appears Smart got in trouble for complaining about the officials giving Rockets guard James Harden star treatment.
“When you’re playing a guy like that who gets those types of calls, it’s pretty much like you’re playing in foul trouble,” Smart told The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach after Boston’s 123-120 loss. ” … You can’t really play the defense that you want, because you know nine times out of 10 he’s going to get those calls. It doesn’t matter whether your hands are up or not. He still gets them.
“We saw that here (Saturday night) a few times, and we’ve seen that every other game. He has a way of using his hands, grabbing us, pulling us into him and drawing those fouls. He’s been doing it for a long time. He gets the benefit of the doubt.”
Smart isn’t necessarily wrong: Harden leads the NBA in free throw attempts (558 in 55 games) by a wide margin and has perfected the art of drawing foul calls, both on drives and in the act of shooting.
Harden wasn’t fined for those comments, but it appears Smart won’t be as lucky. The good news: He still can defy gravity.
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