NBA Weighs in on Marcus Smart Referee Altercation

Marcus Smart, Celtics

Getty Marcus Smart, Celtics

Celtics guard Marcus Smart will be docked $35,000 for, “confronting and verbally abusing the game officials,” at the end of Tuesday’s embarrassing loss to the Nets, the NBA announced on Thursday. But he and the Celtics breathed a sigh of relief as he was not suspended.

Smart confronted officials after the game, including a conversation with referee John Goble that, at first, appeared cordial. But Smart got increasingly agitated, began pointing a Goble and was pulled away from the referees by two Celtics security officials.

Marcus Smart going off on refs is partly the NBA's fault – Brian Windhorst | The JumpRachel Nichols, Brian Windhorst and Clinton Yates react to Marcus Smart going off on referees after Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics, with Windhorst saying part of this is the NBA's fault. They also react to Brad Stevens' postgame press conference, in which he was exasperated over the loss and the Celtics' lack of players. #TheJump…2020-03-04T23:15:00.000Z


It was not a banner night for Smart and not only because he fouled out with 3:42 to play in overtime and finished the night with 5-for-15 shooting from the field (4-for-14 from the 3-point line). The disqualifying play was an unwise offensive foul he took, whistled by Goble, on a play in which Smart lowered his head and barreled into Nets center DeAndre Jordan.

Smart was, no doubt, upset after the game about the foul with 0.2 seconds to go in regulation, also whistled by Goble, on Nets wing Caris LeVert, who wound up laying 51 points on the Celtics, including 37 in the fourth quarter and overtime.

On that play, Smart reached in on LeVert’s desperation 3-point attempt even as LeVert had big man Daniel Theis leaping in front of him and Robert Williams to his side. The Celtics were up by three points at the time and LeVert made all three foul shots to send the game into overtime. Smart protested the call, but video replay appeared to show he hit LeVert’s arm.

The league’s Last 2-Minute Report stated, “Smart (BOS) makes contact to LeVert’s (BKN) arm during his shooting motion that affects his jump shot attempt.”

“I thought that we had him guarded pretty well at that point,” coach Brad Stevens said. “So, but we shouldn’t have been in that situation.”

Marcus Smart’s Long History with NBA Discipline

Smart was fortunate that he was not suspended for the run-in with the referees and was given a hefty fine because, according to a statement from the league, it “reflects his multiple prior violations of acceptable on-court decorum.”

It’s at least the ninth time Smart has been disciplined by the NBA office, at a cost of around $200,000.

When he was a rookie, Smart was suspended and fined for a flagrant-2 foul–basically, a punch — on Spurs center Matt Bonner. He was fined twice for making an obscene gesture, once in March 2016 and again during the first round of the playoffs in 2017. In March of 2018, he was fined $15,000 for criticizing the referees in a postgame press conference.

Last season, Smart was fined three times by the league. The first was $25,000 in the preseason for “inciting an altercation” with Cleveland’s J.R. Smith. In January, he was fined $35,000 for, “aggressively pursuing an opponent,” after he was kicked out of a game against the Hawks with two technical fouls. He was fined $50,000 in March for shoving Joel Embiid of the Sixers.

He was fined $15,000 earlier this season for criticizing the referees.

Smart leads the Celtics this season with seven technical fouls.

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