WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart was fined $15,000 by the league for an obscene gesture during his team's win over the New York Knicks on Friday. The gesture contributed to one of the two technical fouls Smart was tagged with this weekend.
Smart has now been assessed five technical fouls this season, the second most on the Celtics, behind Isaiah Thomas (8). Although Celtics coach Brad Stevens said there is a line Smart must navigate with officials, he has repeatedly stressed that Smart's competitive nature is what sets him apart from others.
"I think there is a fine line, for sure," Stevens said. "But I think you'd rather a guy be more competitive than not. And Marcus is really a great competitor. He gets frustrated, but he's a young player, and those are things that he can continue to learn. And again, I don't think you can just flip the switch on a person that's not as competitive. When you bring that energy and competitive type of play, you're going to have some moments where you've got to reflect back and improve from it."
Smart noted Monday that he and Thomas engaged in a post-practice chat about the technical fouls, with Thomas' message being to move on to the next play and avoid compounding the initial negative play.
Smart stood firm that he wouldn't change his approach to engaging referees about calls that go against him.
"I don't think it's nothing I have to change," he said. "Everybody's going to make mistakes -- [not just] as a player but as officials too. They're humans just like us, so it's nothing personal between the players or the refs to us or vice versa. It's just everybody gets caught up in the moment of the game, and stuff like that's going to happen."
After getting tagged with a questionable offensive foul call in the third quarter of Friday's game against the Knicks, Smart first calmly handed the ball to the official but then tried to plead his case. Backing away from the referee, Smart appeared to make the obscene gesture, which led to the technical. The Celtics were down by two at the time of the play, and the Knicks pushed their lead to six before the end of the quarter.
The Celtics rallied back from an eight-point deficit over the final 4:16 to beat the Knicks. On Saturday, Smart and his teammates all appeared frustrated by the calls against them during a loss to the Cavaliers, and most players said after the game that Boston must respond better to that sort of adversity.
"Everybody that plays this game is going to feel [frustrated at times]," Smart said. "That's why it takes five guys out there. Isaiah was just talking to me, and we just had a discussion. He was telling me what I already know and what everybody knows with the technical: We didn't need it at the time. We were just talking how we can come back and capitalize on the next play."