Marcus Smart defends Al Horford play that injured Steph Curry in Game 3

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Smart defends Horford's 'fair basketball' play that injured Steph originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors know just as well as any team how physical the Boston Celtics are.

They first experienced it back on March 16 when the two teams faced off in a regular-season game at Chase Center. In that game, Warriors superstar Steph Curry sustained a foot injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the regular season after Celtics guard Marcus Smart fell on his leg on a loose-ball play.

Fast forward a few months, and the Warriors might be experiencing a little bit of déjà vu. In Golden State's 116-100 loss to Boston in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, Celtics center Al Horford fell on Curry's leg while going for a loose ball with just over four minutes remaining in the game.

After the game, Curry revealed that he sustained the same type of injury he did against the Celtics in the regular season but to a much lesser degree, which should allow him to play in Game 4 on Friday at TD Garden.

In speaking with Yahoo Sports NBA insider Chris Haynes after the game, Smart came to Horford's defense, claiming that the play was "fair basketball."

“It’s the Finals. You’ve got guys diving all over the place," Smart told Yahoo Sports. 'Their guys are diving into us. We don’t say nothing, we’re getting hurt as well, but we continue to play. Nothing is intentional. It’s the Finals. We’re trying to win just like them. First one to the ball, as we all know, wins. They can complain all they want. It is what it is. There’s nothing dirty about it. It’s fair game. It’s fair basketball. It’s Finals basketball. … Nobody is out here trying to hurt anybody.”

Horford had a similar response to Smart's during the regular season, that he was just trying to make a play and had no intention of hurting Curry.

“It has nothing to do with Steph,” Horford told Yahoo Sports. “I saw the ball and tried to make a play. We’re trying to win a game. I don’t think there’s any [controversy] there.”

The Celtics center addressed the play again on Thursday following shoot-around with the team.

"Yeah, no, I just saw the loose ball," Horford told reporters. "I just tried to make a play.

"Yeah, I understand the type of moment and us continuing just to play the right way, play to win."

RELATED: Klay: Draymond, Dubs will 'respond like champions' in Game 4

Upon watching the play, it's clear that Horford was just going hard after a loose ball, as Smart did a few months back.

Unfortunately for Curry and the Warriors, both instances have come at the expense of the foot of one of the most impactful players in the game of basketball.

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