Marcus Smart is beloved for his passion on the basketball court, but sometimes it costs him.
That apparently was the case Wednesday night, as the Boston Celtics guard will serve a one-game suspension without pay against the Charlotte Hornets.
Details initially were murky about the cause, with coach Brad Stevens saying he only found out Smart would have to sit two hours before the game.
“I’m not really completely aware of what happened that led to the suspension,” Stevens said. “I did hear that there were words exchanged after the game, but I did not obviously know that that was coming, specifically. I thought once we got past a certain time this afternoon, I figured it would be something else. But yeah, I just found out.”
During Boston’s loss Tuesday night to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe noted that referee James Williams was “the target of Marcus Smart’s ire” after giving the guard a technical foul with just under eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. With Smart’s history of mouthing off at refs, the verdict itself wasn’t a huge surprise — just the timing of it.
After most of Wednesday had passed without word from the league, Stevens made the assumption Smart would be able to participate. Understandably, that made planning for the Hornets matchup a little difficult.
“I don’t want to get into it,” Stevens commented.
Fair. It’s hard to imagine Stevens wanting to end up punished by the league for comments, as well.
Either way, the Celtics certainly could have used Smart on Wednesday night. Boston is just 1 1/2 games ahead of Charlotte in the Eastern Conference standings, and it could come back to bite them.