Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“I told [Smith] to come back to the back,” said Smart, who fidgeted throughout his emotional two-minute interview with reporters and at one point addressed the camera directly.
“All that on the court, we can handle that off the court. I ain’t with that. And that’s on my mama, may she rest in peace. Ain’t no punk right here. On my mama, may she rest in peace. That s— dead, so. Whatever happens, happens. J.R. knows where I’m at. Everyone knows where I’m at. It is what it is.”
Smith responded to video of Smart’s interview by writing on Twitter, “Meet me on street damn the back!!” Later Smith added, “Better keep this s— [about] basketball.”
NBCSN Boston: Emotional Marcus Smart vents about JR Smith
Here’s Marcus Smart after the game. It’s better to see him say these things before moving on.
Here’s what I saw last night…
I saw a 24-year-old who just lost his mother snap. He saw JR Smith, a punk if there ever was one, get involved in another scuffle with a Celtics player, and he snapped. He ran in, pushed Smith in the back, and then squared up to throw some punches.
If people weren’t there to pull Smart off of him, it could have been bad. And the thing that tells me I’m right about this is how Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum reacted to it all.
They didn’t just hold Smart back. They had to tackle him to get him to stop. They had to bring him to the floor to get him to stop attacking. Even after the game was over, Smart was jittery and clearly still feeling those emotions.
None of this is to say JR Smith doesn’t deserve some comeuppance. He acts like he’s tough but it’s all a show. He’s playing a character. When push comes to shove he resorts to dirty plays.
The harsh interaction between Smart and Smith wasn’t their first. The bad blood — which could draw discipline from the NBA, especially after both players engaged in a back-and-forth after the game — dates back at least to the first round of the 2015 playoffs, when Smith struck then-Celtics forward Jae Crowder with a hard forearm to the face. While falling to the court, Crowder sprained his MCL and was out for the rest of the playoffs. Smart wasn’t on the court at the time, but the Celtics were steamed about what they considered a violent play.
There is also this… which nearly started a fight between Smart and Smith…
This play shows how dirty Smith really is. A push to the back when someone is in the air and vulnerable is one of the most dangerous plays in basketball. This isn’t close to being tough. This is being an asshole.
That’s probably what JR is going for. He does spoiled suburban asshole things, like steal someone’s phone and throw it into a construction zone, because that’s basically what he is.
And I get it… that’s a very punch-able kind of person. When I look at this smug face…
… there is a definite urge to square up. But this isn’t some 50’s Western movie were you can just go around punching people. This is real life, and for Marcus Smart, and NBA sanctioned very public event.
No matter how gigantic a prick Smith is being, Smart has to learn that he’s hurting more than he’s helping by launching into his rage. Smart is lucky his teammates caught him because an already bad situation could have been made much worse.
Smart can deny it all he wants but his emotions are even harder to contain at the moment, and if he’s stuffing any of that deep inside instead of finding the right release for it, he’s going to snap again.
Let me be clear here, this is not a judgement of Smart. This is intended to be a simple statement of fact. Smart is going through a horrific time in his life, and that pain is still very fresh.
I just hope he can find the right outlet for his anger and emotions so he (a) can be a healthier person and (b) not risk getting suspensions in the future.
JR Smith knows Smart hates him. The next time they play, Smith will probably be provoking him again. Because that’s what Smith does.
Smart is going to have to find a way to not snap next time. His teammates might not be there to catch him… and I don’t want to find out what happens if they don’t.
MassLive: J.R. Smith responds to Boston Celtics Marcus Smart: ‘Meet me on the street’ | Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart on J.R. Smith altercation: ‘J.R. knows where I’m at. Everybody knows where I’m at’ | Marcus Smart ejected vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: Boston Celtics guard shoves JR Smith, who waves goodbye (watch)
ESPN Boston: Celts’ Smart ejected after tiff with Cavs’ Smith
Page 2: Weird schedule gives Boston Celtics another challenge
This season, other teams will still be playing preseason games Oct. 12, when the Celtics will have been done for six days. Partly because of this unusual setup, coach Brad Stevens planned to play many of his regulars extensively Saturday night.
“A little bit because of the big gap, a little bit because of how we played [in our other preseason games],” Stevens said.
“Now with 10 days left, the gap is probably the biggest factor . . . Then we have to structure our practices appropriately so we’re getting the right conditioning, the right prep for the start of the season next week. So that will be a challenge over the next 10 days.”
The Celtics have struggled a lot this preseason. They also started it by scoring a lot of points, so there’s been some positive there.
The biggest challenge now is how they keep guys in game shape this week and a half.
I’m not sure what the league rules are, but the team should be allowed to bring in a team of G-League level talent just to throw some fresh defense at these guys and force them to execute without the typical stoppages in practice play.
It’s funny… this year’s team is doing what we thought last year’s team would do. All of the talk going into last season was about how much time it would take these guys to figure each other out, and it was likely they’d start slow.
This year, they were supposed to be past that… but they apparently aren’t. 10 days of practice time will be great to hone in and perfect some things, but it will also drive these guys nuts. They need some outside competition or they’ll end up wanting to kill each other.
Celtics assistant Jerome Allen pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe while he was the coach at Penn.
At the time, Allen was the head coach at the University of Pennsylvania and accepted the $18,000 bribe from the father of a prospective student “for the purpose of using my position as coach to help his son get admitted to the school as a ‘listed’ recruit,” Allen said in a statement.
“I failed on many levels,” said Allen in a statement. “Primarily, I had a failure of character. I did not live up to the high standards I set for myself, or were expected of me in the position that I held.
He’ll repay the bribe plus a $200,000 fine. The Celtics will likely suspend him, but not fire him.
Related links: NBCSN Boston: Brad Stevens offers support for embattled Celtics assistant
The rest of the links
NBCSN Boston: Celtics lack fight, drop preseason finale at Cleveland