Marcus Smart challenges J.R. Smith to 'meet me in the back' after on-court scuffle

Jason Owens
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/5317/" data-ylk="slk:Marcus Smart">Marcus Smart</a> and <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/3835/" data-ylk="slk:J.R. Smith">J.R. Smith</a> went at it Saturday as bitterness from last year’s Eastern Conference finals has apparently held over. (Getty)
Marcus Smart and J.R. Smith went at it Saturday as bitterness from last year’s Eastern Conference finals has apparently held over. (Getty)

It’s fight night in Las Vegas and apparently Cleveland too.

The Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers met on Saturday in a preseason rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference finals. While LeBron James is gone, the animosity is not.

Scuffle starts with J.R. Smith

Things got heated late in the first quarter when Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith got tangled up with Celtics forward Aron Baynes while fighting for position in the paint. The two locked elbows and tossed each other around, prompting Celtics guard Marcus Smart to get involved.

From there, chaos reigned, NBA style.

Marcus Smart couldn’t resist

Smith earned a technical for his role in the kerfuffle, while Smart got tossed, presumably for coming out of nowhere to shove Smith in the back of the head.

Highlights include Smith smiling and backing up after pretending that he wanted to fight, Smart taking a fighting stance and pausing until there were people between him and Smith and Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier with the takedown of Smart to keep their teammate out of further trouble.

After the game, Smart, following what’s becoming an NBA tradition, challenged Smith to “meet me in the back.”

“All that on the court, we can handle that off the court,” Smart said. “I ain’t with that. That’s on my mama. May she rest in peace. Ain’t no punk right here.

“J.R. know where I’m at. Everybody know where I’m at.”

Smith noticed Smart’s challenge and took his response to Twitter.

In the end, it was an NBA fight that was, well, an NBA fight. There was a lot of jawing, a lot of posturing and a little bit of shoving. But nobody wanted deal with the penalties that would come with trading actual blows on the basketball court.

If either player is serious about settling things off the court, we’ll surely find out.

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