Marcus Smart and J.R. Smith followed up their near-brawl in Saturday’s preseason game between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers by exchanging verbal jabs, both through reporters and via social media.
Smart revealed after the game that he told Smith to “meet me in the back,” and the Cavs guard, who also questioned his Celtics guard’s toughness, responded to the challenge by tweeting: “Meet me on street damn the back!!”
So, what prevented the two from actually throwing down in Cleveland? Cooler heads, maybe. Because as Jalen Rose explained Monday on ESPN, they easily could have settled their differences off the court Saturday had they really wanted to fight.
Rose mapped out the whole situation during a “Behind the Curtain” segment in which he discussed the proximity of the locker rooms at Quicken Loans Arena as well as where the team buses typically are stationed.
The Celtics and Cavaliers have developed some bad blood in recent years thanks to battling atop the Eastern Conference standings, with Cleveland even eliminating Boston in the playoffs in three of the last four seasons. The Cavs are expected to take a step back in 2018-19 after losing LeBron James, while the C’s have championship aspirations, but the Smart vs. Smith beef could keep the rivalry going.
The Celtics and Cavs first meet this season on Nov. 30 at TD Garden.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports