For the most part this season, Marcus Smart has been a model citizen. After carrying a somewhat sketchy reputation from an incident in college, Smart played much of the year without issue.
But the rookie guard has been feisty the last couple of weeks and committed what appears to be a pretty egregious foul late in Friday's loss to the Spurs. Checking San Antoinio guard Patty Mills, Smart saw Matt Bonner approach for a screen. Instead of fighting through in the traditional manner, Smart appears to wind up and punch the veteran forward below the belt.
Smart wound up and punched Bonner in the junk. Can't condone that. https://t.co/FQ0laeCTUk— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) March 21, 2015
The play occurred with about nine minutes left in a blowout loss and Smart (3-for-9 shooting) undoubtedly had some pent-up frustration. Smart was obviously ejected from the contest and has now been suspended one game by the league. Smart will miss Sunday's game at Detroit.
Smart called the play a "freak accident" and tried to explain his actions to reporters after the game. From Jay King of Mass Live:
"Like every other play, I was trying to get through a screen. He screened me, tried to clean up his screen, and I tried to fight through it. (Aron Baynes) had his arms up high, we locked arms, and the way he hit me threw my body back, so it forced my momentum to come forward. (Bonner) just happened to jump in the way as I was trying to rip through and rip up, and he got caught. Like I told him, I wasn't trying to intentionally do it because if I was, obviously, he wouldn't have came at me the way he did. It was just a freak accident."
Even before the suspension became official, coach Brad Stevens made his thoughts clear:
Stevens on Smart's Flagrant 2 ejection: "From my standpoint, it looks like an unacceptable play. You can't do that."— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 21, 2015
The ejection was Smart's second this month after he was tossed from a game against the Orlando Magic on March 8. That gives Smart four flagrant foul points this year, meaning another flagrant-2 or two flagrant-1 fouls will earn him a one-game suspension.
Unfortunately, the recent outbursts bring to mind an incident from Smart's time at Oklahoma State that may have affected his draft stock. Late in a loss to Texas Tech on Feb. 9 last season, Smart tried to block a shot and tumbled into the stands. He thought he heard a fan call him a racial slur and pushed the man, earning a technical foul and an eventual three-game suspension. Smart apologized and admitted his mistake and has mostly stayed out of trouble since then.
Photo credit: Soobum Im, USA Today SportsDan Hoppen 3/21/2015 09:45:00 AM Tweet Edit