Celtics’ Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum Downplay Marcus Smart’s Blunder

'Just a little mistake'


March 29, 2021

It was one day — and more specifically, one play — that Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart soon will want to forget.

Smart tossed up a half-court shot midway through the third quarter with the Celtics trailing the New Orleans Pelicans by four points in their eventual 115-109 defeat. Smart had hauled in a jump ball won by teammate Payton Pritchard and likely thought the 0.3 seconds on the shot clock were that of Boston while it actually belonged to New Orleans.

Smart could have won the jump ball and set up Boston’s next offensive possession, but instead, his half-court, one-handed toss went out of bounds and resulted in the Pelicans taking possession.

Both Smart and teammate Kemba Walker were shown on NBC Sports Boston’s broadcast discussing what took place. It prompted quite the Twitter reaction, too.

“I’m gonna be honest, I don’t remember the exact situation. But I’m pretty sure I was just uplifting him,” Walker said on a postgame video conference with reporters. “That’s my brother, so, you can always tell when a guy is just a little upset with himself. So I was just trying to uplift him and give him confidence just like he would do for me. That’s all.” 

Walker wouldn’t get into what was said after the play.

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I think we both were a little bit confused, to be honest,” Walker said. “Just a little mistake.”

Smart was ejected from the game in the fourth quarter after scoring 15 points on 6-for-15 from the field, including 0-for-6 from long range. He did contribute three rebounds and three assists, but otherwise, it was a forgettable performance from the veteran guard.

Jayson Tatum didn’t put much thought into it either, explaining how nights like those happen to everyone.

“We’ve all be through it,” Tatum said during his postgame video conference. “But I think just as a group, we got to be there for each other. I think that’s just part of playing a team sport, being there for one another.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens deflected when asked about Smart during his postgame availability. Stevens instead talked about how it wasn’t the four-quarter performance the Celtics had been hoping for despite playing in front of fans for the first time this season.

The 23-24 Celtics will look to turn the page as they host the Dallas Mavericks at TD Garden on Wednesday.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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