Joe Mazzulla apparently was maintaining a level of optimism after the Marcus Smart-Trae Young dustup Saturday night.
Blake Griffin, on the other hand, chose to be a realist about the situation.
After Young kicked Smart in the mid-section on a shot follow-through late in the fourth quarter at State Farm Arena, the Celtics guard confronted the Hawks star and pulled him to the ground. Referees immediately stopped play and evaluated the punishments for both players.
During the stoppage, Griffin couldn’t help but notice a flaw in his head coach’s preparation for Boston’s ensuing possession.
“Like as soon as it happened, I was like, ‘Oh no,'” Griffin told reporters, per The Athletic. “Whatever happened, I don’t want to implicate Smarty, but whatever happened you’re just like, ‘Well, Smart’s gone.’ Joe has Marcus (on his whiteboard) and I’m like, ‘He’s not gonna be — no chance he’s out there. Malcolm (Brogdon), get ready.'”
Griffin was right. Smart was ejected upon review of the incident, forcing the Celtics to play the final 1:25 of the game without the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. But Boston never wavered, and it ultimately kicked off its six-game road trip with a nine-point win.
The trip continues Monday night with a pit stop in Houston for a battle with the Rockets.