JR Smith 'known for' dirty plays, says Marcus Smart

17 May 2018, 01:24 | Kristine Mills

JR Smith 'known for' dirty plays, says Marcus Smart

Video: JR Smith Shoves Al Horford Mid-Air, Marcus Smarts Retaliates

"I felt like it was uncalled for that type of play there", Horford said after the Celtics pulled off a 107-94 win over the Cavaliers for a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

It was the Cavs who crossed the line from playing hard to playing unsafe when JR Smith shoved an already-airborne Horford in the back with 3:37 remaining in the fourth quarter, resulting in a flagrant foul 1 on Smith following a review by the officials.

It was the only time Smith was on target.

Smith was assessed a flagrant-one foul for his shove, and then a technical for shoving and jawing with Marcus Smart.

Smith and point guard George Hill were outscored 41-3 by Boston's Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier, who were faster, hungrier and maybe tougher. "I blatantly pushed him", Smith said. "They're aggressive, and we've got to match that". Sometimes they focus on things that don't matter, and the other times they focus on that he impacts winning. By doing so, it would have nipped this issue in the bud while simultaneously making it clear that protecting players is more important than protecting a team's ability to compete.

Now, Lue has to ponder another shake-up. In the first to games against the Celtics, the 32-year-old has totaled just four points and two assists despite averaging 28 minutes. Sit him and risk never getting him back.

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Game three in the series takes place in Cleveland on Saturday.

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. Whatever it takes, every player, 1 to 15, whatever it takes, that's what we're doing.

Veteran Jose Calderon appears to be out of consideration despite his steadiness and experience.

They are finding life in the playoffs is more hard without Irving, who at times carried Cleveland's offense, giving James a break and Lue a dependable second scoring option.

Hill has been unusually passive in the first two games, and the Cavs need to get him going. Hard fouls. Everything you could ever want in playoff basketball!

"That's a dirty shot", Smart said of Smith's play after the game. When asked about the altercation, Smart told reporters he was just trying to stick up for a teammate. What they needed was a few stops to give themselves a chance at a comeback.



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