Is it Smart to run the risk that others might Marcus as a dirty team?

At the end of Boston's recent game at Detroit, there seemed to be a bit of a scuffle between Reggie Jackson and Marcus Smart.

Such an event forced me to think upon so many other instances this year in which Marcus has seemed to draw the ire of opposing players.

Of course, outright sucker punching opponents in their junk will not win you any customer service awards. But, to my knowledge, Smart did not attempt anything close to a routine physical with DeMarcus Cousins when Sacramento was in town a number of weeks ago. Whatever the reason, DeMarcus threw our Marcus to the floor like a rag doll.

Smart's reputation followed him to the league. He's a feisty player, but sometimes ignores boundaries, like the time he assaulted a fan in the stands in college.

But he is relentless on defense, and there's a very real possibility that, especially in a league where consistent passion and effort are often in short supply, he might just be doing his job so well that offensive players find him - well, offensive.

There were no shortage of occasions a few years ago when point guards were visibly annoyed with Avery Bradley for sticking close to them the whole way up the court, but there are no reports of Avery being a dirty player.

Curious what your thoughts are about this. What's the percentage mix of variables that lead to the frustration of opposing players with Marcus Smart? 50/50 dirty/tenacious? 40/60?

And which instances of this frustration have you seen during this season? There were the aforementioned Jackson and Cousins, but who am I missing?

And do we care? Is it OK for the Celtics to employ an instigator if he's helping them mess with the teams that are trying to steal their lunch?

Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images. Photo art by Chris Quimby.

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