Celtics’ Marcus Smart ignores Kemba Walker’s advice of venting on officiating: ‘I don’t care’
The Houston Rockets snapped the Boston Celtics’ seven-game win streak on Tuesday after a barrage of late-game free-throw shooting helped them to a 116-105 win. Marcus Smart was disgusted by the officiating, ignoring Kemba Walker’s advice to let it go.
The refs allowed the Rockets to shoot 16 free throws in the final period, cashing in on 15 of them. Those included three 3-point field goal calls — two that favored James Harden and the other favoring newcomer Robert Covington.
Yet the one call Smart was irate about was one where he felt he got called for fouling Russell Westbrook by getting hit in the face, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic.
“You’re asking to kind of give you a sense of how not to get in foul trouble and how not to foul and what you need to do. Then you go out there and do it and then you get called for a foul,” said Smart. “It’s demoralizing for you.”
Smart had some lock-down plays on Westbrook, like this near-pocket-pick and consequent chasedown block leading to a Jayson Tatum dunk:
Marcus Smart recovers on Westbrook and get's the block, leading to a Tatum and 1 pic.twitter.com/QROVPokmxu
— The Render (@TheRenderNBA2) February 12, 2020
And this one that led to a Jaylen Brown breakaway slam:
— NBA Hustle (@Hustle_NBA) February 12, 2020
Smart made heady defensive plays against the Houston backcourt, but was often the victim of getting caught with the whistle. After a shower following the loss, the Celtics guard praised the Rockets for their physical play.
“It’s just hard for us,” he said, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “The way the game is being called, we didn’t know how physical we could be, because when we were physical we were being called, so it kind of made us hesitant and put us on our heels. Anytime you fearful of fouling, that’s kind of what happened. But we’ll get better at it. They did a good job of being physical and really owning that game and taking it to us.”
The Celtics owned the Rockets in every category besides blocks and free-throw shooting, where they had a 42-25 disadvantage. Westbrook and Harden combined to shoot 31 of the Rockets free-throw attempts making more between them (27) than Boston had attempts (25).