BOSTON (CBS) — Hopefully Marcus Smart didn’t plan anything too lavish for his 24th birthday on Tuesday.
The NBA did not appreciate his critical remarks about the officiating following Boston’s loss to the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, and slapped Smart with a hefty $15,000 fine on Tuesday afternoon. Hopefully that doesn’t put too much of a damper on his birthday celebration.
Like many players around the league this season, Smart was left a bit dumbfounded in regards to the special treatment Rockets guard James Harden receivers from referees.
“You get certain players who get calls that other guys just wouldn’t get,” Smart told the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach on Saturday night. “We all know the rule. We all understand it. Superstars are going to be superstars. We get it. It is what it is. We’ve just got to play.
“When you’re playing a guy like that who gets those types of calls, it’s pretty much like you’re playing in foul trouble,” he said. “You’ve got to play really certain. You have to be really solid. You can’t really play the defense that you want, because you know nine times out of 10 he’s going to get those calls. It doesn’t matter whether your hands are up or not. He still gets them. We saw that here tonight a few times, and we’ve seen that every other game. He has a way of using his hands, grabbing us, pulling us into him and drawing those fouls. He’s been doing it for a long time. He gets the benefit of the doubt.”
Jaylen Brown had the tough assignment of guarding Harden to start Saturday night’s game, but quickly fell into foul trouble. Smart was also tasked with slowing down Harden throughout the game, with the MVP candidate finishing the night with 26 points. Harden attempted 13 free throws in Houston’s 123-120 win over Boston.