Marcus Smart’s wallet took a big hit Tuesday afternoon after word came down that he’d be facing a hefty fine for criticizing the referees following Saturday’s loss to the Houston Rockets.
And when I say hefty, I mean $15,000 hefty.
That’s no chump change in the grand scheme of things but for a guy who’s making more than $4.5 million a year, it’s still a decent whack.
The Boston Celtics guard went on a rant publicly criticizing the officials after he battled with All-Star guard James Harden most of the game.
Note: This isn’t the first time these two have had beef this year. Smart drew a pair of offensive fouls on Harden back in late December, when the Celtics would go onto win, 98-97, in the closing seconds after an Al Horford made basket.
So if all is fair, Smart was due for an overload of frustration on behalf of Harden, since he stewed up a huge pot of it for him throughout that December game.
Following Saturday’s game, Smart had this to say:
“When you’re playing a guy like that who gets those types of calls, it’s pretty much like you’re playing in foul trouble,” Smart said after the game. “You’ve got to play really certain. You have to be really solid. You can’t really play the defense that you want, because you know nine times out of 10 he’s going to get those calls. It doesn’t matter whether your hands are up or not. He still gets them.”
“We saw that here tonight a few times, and we’ve seen that every other game. He has a way of using his hands, grabbing us, pulling us into him and drawing those fouls. He’s been doing it for a long time. He gets the benefit of the doubt.”
Smart might be onto something here concerning the abundant amount of fouls calls Harden gets.
Since the 2012-2013 season, Harden has led the NBA in free throws attempts in every season but one. And he’s currently leading the league with 10.1 attempts-per-game, with Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo coming in second with 8.8 attempts-per-game.
The only year Harden didn’t lead the league in attempts was during the 13-14’ season, where he trailed his former teammate and league leader Kevin Durant by a measly 0.8. And it’s the only season during his current run where he didn’t have more than double-digit attempts per game.
Here’s a rundown of Harden’s free throw attempts-per-game over the last five seasons:
2016-2017: #1 @ 10.9 (#2: Russell Westbrook, Thunder @ 10.4)
2015-2016: T-#1 @ 10.2 (#2: DeMar DeRozan, Raptors @ 8.4)
2014-2015: #1 @ 10.2 (#2: Russell Westbrook, Thunder @ 9.8)
2013-2014: #2 @ 9.1 (#1: Kevin Durant, Thunder @ 9.9)
2012-2013: #1 @ 10.2 (#2 Dwight Howard, Lakers @ 9.5)
To Harden’s credit, he does do a good job at drawing fouls on pull-up jumpers and plays in which he drives to the hole. But does he warrant so many foul calls in his favor?
Sure, Smart is known for playing ferocious defensive, with a chip on his shoulder, but sometimes he does need to tone things down a bit. Especially in this instance because he just cost himself a fat stack of cash.
UP NEXT: The Celtics (45-20) play the last of their three-game road trip on Thursday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves (38-28). Catch the call of the game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell, live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 7:30 p.m., with tip-off set for 8:00 p.m.
— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com