The Boston Celtics endured a devastating overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night, and Marcus Smart wasn’t happy with how it went down.
Following the end of the game, Smart engaged with the referees on the court. He was speaking pretty emphatically while the refs appeared to be resolutely ignoring him, and had to be physically pulled away from them as the conversation progressed and Smart got more heated.
So what was that all about? It’s likely the refs’ foul call on the Celtics as time was running out in regulation. The Celtics were leading 118-115 with .2 seconds left on the clock, but Smart was called for a foul on the Nets’ Caris LeVert.
LeVert had three free throws in front of him. If he missed even one, the game was almost certainly going to be over and the Celtics would win. Instead, LeVert drained all three free throws. The game was tied at 118 and went to overtime. The Celtics never led in overtime, and didn’t even make their first shot until it was halfway over. The Nets won 129-120.
It’s possible that Smart could be suspended for advancing on the refs, which would be tremendously bad for the Celtics. Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown both left Tuesday night’s game with injuries, and Jayson Tatum missed the game due to illness. Kemba Walker’s knee soreness has required him to sit out occasionally to manage it. The Celtics are playing hurt, and they can’t afford to lose Smart on top of everything else.
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