Celtics president of basketball ops Danny Ainge joined Toucher and Rich for his weekly interview on Thursday. He was asked for his reaction to Marcus Smart’s one-game suspension, after the Celtics guard was punished for directing “threatening” language toward an official during a postgame incident following Tuesday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Ainge acknowledged that Smart’s interaction happened after Tuesday’s game, and that Smart shouldn’t be saying anything to officials after a loss. But he also said that Smart has been showing improvement in the leadership department recently, and that he’s not sure he even deserved to be suspended for what he did.
“Marcus is just an emotional kid,” Ainge said. “He plays with his emotions on his sleeve. He was very frustrated with a couple calls I thought were – you know, he should have been frustrated with. But ideally, we don’t want him having conversations with the officials postgame, as they’re leaving the court.
“Marcus has grown a lot. He’s been fantastic the last few weeks, actually, and [he’s] showing some leadership. I’m not going to make a bigger deal out of this than it is. It’s another learning lesson for Marcus. But he’s doing much better as a leader and inspiring his teammates on the court, and that’s what’s important.”
Ainge also talked about the idea that Smart has regressed on the court, as well as the team’s up-and-down overall performance in recent games. Listen below for the full interview.