Playoff basketball is getting close.
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart was ejected less than a minute into the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against Philadelphia for a two-handed shove into the back of 76ers star Joel Embiid.
Marcus Smart shoved Joel Embiid to the floor 😳 pic.twitter.com/yshJkeO1fe
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 21, 2019
Here’s another angle:
Marcus Smart was ejected and Joel Embiid got a technical after this altercation in Philly. pic.twitter.com/qzisA0gvxO
— ESPN (@espn) March 21, 2019
“Obviously, I was frustrated, because it was a cheap shot,” Embiid said afterward. “I didn’t see it coming. It caught me off guard.
After a lengthy review, the officials hit Smart with a flagrant foul 2, resulting in an immediate ejection.
“We needed him out there,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who added that he was disappointed in Smart. “Don’t get it wrong: We love all that Marcus is. And part of Marcus is his fire.
“As you know, a time or two a year it gets the best of him. But this is just a reminder of how important he is. He knows how we all feel and he knows we all love him. That’s just part of it. It’s part of a long season.”
Smart left without speaking to reporters.
As the call was announced, Smart was cheered off the court by the fans in Philadelphia, and he raised his right hand to egg them on as he walked through the tunnel and back to Celtics’ locker room.
“Stuff like that, it gets me going, it gets the crowd going,” Embiid said. “And everybody knows that I play better when the crowd is involved. So, that energy was definitely good for us.”
Embiid, meanwhile, was hit with a technical foul for his role in the play.
Embiid led all scorers with 37 points to go along with 22 rebounds, and a huge block on a drive by Irving in the game’s final minute.
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