The Celtics goalkeeper appeared to accompany him after Saturday night’s 107-97 victory over New Orleans by rubbing his right hand. The pain is a painful reminder of a poor decision during the 2017-18 season, when Smart tore his hand while punching a hotel picture frame after the Lakers lost. Doctors later told Smart that he was close to never playing basketball again after the injury. But the pain reappears from time to time.
“Yes, it has been that way since the picture frame incident,” he said. “There is still some glass here and they said it would probably cause more problems to get the glass out, so they just left it, so I still have glass in my hand. Sometimes I don’t feel my hand but it comes back.”
Smart said he might consider rectifying the problem when his days in the NBA are over.
“Yes, I might see what I can do. He said.
The wits and some of his teammates engaged some words with a wild fan behind the bench, though nothing happened.
“I didn’t get it exactly. Some of my teammates did. I don’t know exactly what he said but he said some things that weren’t basketball related,” Smart said. “And sometimes you just have to tell people you’re not going to put up with it. And that it was. I did it, it’s over, we’re here, there’s no point in making this big. Let’s just get out of here.”
“It was a fan who was teasing us, and it was hard for us, which I don’t understand. She rose. But part of it. We’re just asking you to keep it strictly in basketball. When you start trying to make it personal, that’s kind of a problem that comes in. You don’t feel like you Qualified because you got seats on the court to say anything. Especially because if we weren’t here in that gym, you wouldn’t say it to me. So just keep it strictly Basketball, we can take it, kidding with you. That’s what this game is about, it’s The entertainment business and the ability to interact with fans is part of it. So just as we expect them to be respected, we expect them to respect us as well and maintain respect.”
Asked if the fan had crossed the line, Smart answered, “Yes.”
Timelord from the depths
With family and friends in the stands, Robert Williams missed the third three-point attempt of his career. He still has to make one. His teammates were very happy.
“We’ve been teasing him all season because he’s been working on it in practice,” said Jason Tatum. “And timing was perfect, coming home, late in the shot clock. I know the whole seat stood up. We would have gone crazy if he had done it. But I’m glad he took it.”
On the fly
Ime Udoka doesn’t always close with his base unit, though the group’s elite net difference is rarely intact, as evidenced by the presence of Dennis Schroeder and Marcus Smart throughout Friday’s loss in Atlanta.
But the Celtics coach prefers to run with what works at the moment when choosing a fourth-quarter lineup.
“Partial game flow, read what we’re doing there,” he said. “Offense versus defense. Often teams get downsized at the end. Obviously, sometimes that matches defensively. But if the unit is playing well, or the individuals, we’ll come back to that as well. So it’s a bit of both. Traditionally most teams have small squads with their best players out there regardless of position, so sometimes I try to match that.”
When asked about the challenge of this kind of decision-making, Odoka said, “I don’t think it’s a challenge for me or the players mostly. As I mentioned, even in the second quarter squads we leave out some teams in case they play well early on.
“J-Rich and Grant mostly come from Al and Jayson. If they did well with this unit we’d leave them longer, and that plays at the end of game cycles too. For me, it’s game after game. Sometimes we need to scale up , and sometimes we need to downsize and deal with who’s playing well. But if we can do that – if our big backlog plays well, downsizes the team, we’re still just as comfortable as the start of the game going with that unit.”
The Celtics’ visit to New Orleans coincided with the absence of Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas through injury from the Pelicans lineup. But for the Celtics, every game should be considered a trap game, and we’ve taken into account some of their performances against stripped squads this season.
“I look at some of the problems we’ve had at times this year, but we can’t be satisfied with a mindset like guys who are going to sit outside and we’ll be fine tonight,” Odoka said. Also, we didn’t have a great feeling from last night, bad taste in our mouths after we played offensively. I felt like we took a step back as much as we’ve been doing in the past few games, so we watched it this morning. And it was really clear when I looked at a match Washington, Sacramento, last night, and then it brought it back to the New Orleans game, how we diverged, the movement of the ball, the transition, the pace we were playing. So we want to go back to that night, and a good opportunity to do that after a huge loss last night.”