Celtics Legend Bill Russell Appreciated Marcus Smart Sticking Up For His Teammate

J.R. Smith and Marcus Smart

With his Cleveland Cavaliers visibly frustrated late in Tuesday night's Eastern Conference Finals series against the Boston Celtics, the always enigmatic J.R. Smith might have committed the dirtiest foul of the playoffs. It was a very unsafe play, and Smith was hit with a Flagrant 1 foul. A minor skirmish broke out and Smith was assessed a Flagrant 1, which probably should have been a Flagrant 2 and an ejection.

Smith's push was delivered in frustration as the Cavaliers watched a 55-48 halftime advantage disappear, with the incident coming as the Celtics were holding a 12-point lead at 99-89. Or, you could say, he was up there in the pecking order of the culpable. "You can't just allow that to keep happening". We know he can make shots, but just communication defensive-wise."Smith explained: "We were slow on our coverages".

Smith has a history of dirty tactics, and Smart's right that this isn't the first time it's happened against the Celtics.

On the play against Horford, Smith couldn't deny what he did. "I blatantly pushed [Horford]".

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"It was a good, hard foul - I can understand why it was given". "You keep letting a bully keep picking on you, he's going to pick on you until you finally stand up, and that's what I tried to do. One of my guys was down and I took offence to it".

"It was a good call", Smith said after the game, in which he finished with zero points on 0-for-7 shooting.

The Garden crowd naturally responded with a profane chant directed at Smith, but the Cavs guard said he didn't mind the jeers; in fact, he apparently enjoyed them. "We moved on to the next play, and we just locked in even more after that". "He's not even looking, and you go and take two hands to the back, that's a dirty shot".

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