Celtics’ Marcus Smart sounds off on NBA referees, says ‘I gotta protect myself’
The 25-year-old Oklahoma State product has built quite a reputation over the years with his defensive tenacity and sometimes overly physical play.
“It’s like they’re on to me. It’s like they’re doing it on purpose. Sometimes you got to step in and say something to coach. From a player’s standpoint, you got to step in,” he was quoted as saying, per Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
“They (referees) definitely treat me differently, I mean everybody sees it. I’m not gonna talk about it because talking about it will me make me lose money and the game is over, so I’m just gonna keep playing. If they won’t protect me I will,” he added.
Marcus Smart: “I wish they would call the game the right way. … If nobody else is going to protect yourself, you’ve got to protect yourself. So if that means I gotta lose a little bit of money, then I gotta lose a little bit of money."
— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) November 8, 2019
Smart’s ability to defend multiple positions has been big for coach Brad Stevens, as the Celtics are now tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the best record in the NBA after a 6-1 start.
Smart’s growth as defensive player was quite evident last season, when he was named to the NBA All Defensive First Team for the first time in his career.
He is currently averaging 10.2 points per game on 36.2 percent shooting from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc, while notching 3.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.2 steals in 32 minutes per game.
Smart also passed former Celtics teammate Isaiah Thomas in the Celtics’ all-time three-point field goals made. Smart drilled the 461st trey of his career versus the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday and claimed sole possession of the sixth spot.